Copenhagen – Danish studio Spacon & X was the winner of the People’s Choice vote for the Emerging Designer of the Year at the last edition of our Frame Awards. This year, it’s proving the people right with a residential project that allowed a family to customise every nook depending on their changing composition – even on a daily basis and with limited space.
Most of the new urban homes are designed for a homogenous family consisting of a mom, a dad and a baby, and an income considerably above average
The Brought Together House is an intelligent response to both urban migration and the changing makeup of the family nucleus in Europe. While city-based residential housing is being built at dizzying rates, ‘most of these new homes are designed for a homogenous family consisting of a mom, a dad and a baby, and an income considerably above average,’ explained Spacon founder Nikoline Dyrup Carlsen.
Thus, for a joint project with insurance company Danica Pension and consulting firm Copenhagen Windows, the studio decided to challenge the homogenous and the profligate with their Custom Living concept.
For a stepfamily of three children and two adults, the studio devised a solution called The Accordion Lifestyle: as the kids only live in the apartment every other week, the spaces transform from playground to home office with a few shifts of the built-in furniture components.
Case in point: in a space labeled The Vertical Kids Room, a set of 80-cm deep cabinets transform into sleeping and toy nooks for the children; when pushed back, the area turns into a living room. The Check-In Module was conceived to make the children feel at home immediately – an important emotional matter, given the fact that they live between two houses. With a dedicated cabinet for each young dweller, they each know where to put and find their stuff, with added seating and shoe storage facilities. After the children are gone, the space transforms into a kitchen-dining area.
And while youngsters are happy playing around in open spaces, their older siblings need quite the opposite – KEEP OUT sign on the closed door and all. ‘But in a stepfamily, where the family changes in size and constellation, it can seem like a waste of good and expensive square metres to occupy a whole room as a children’s room that will only be used every second week,’ thought Spacon partner Malene Hvidt. Therefore, a stowed-away Murphy bed is replaced by a fold-down working desk on the opposite wall, turning the room of a pre-teen into a home office.
This project acknowledges and respects the fluidity of this family unit, without punishing their pockets or their lifestyles for the market’s sluggishness in catching up to their changing needs. As a whole, the Brought Together House can be seen as what would have happened if Jacques Tati’s Villa Arpel had grown a better brain –and, most importantly, a conscience.