Will small apartments of the future become immersive virtual reality spaces? (Video)

Bernardo Schorr
© Bernardo Schorr

People seem to be understandably divided on the issue of tiny homes and small apartments; downsizing to a smaller living space can be a choice, a necessity based on urban and socioeconomic context, or a bit of both.

So while some welcome the idea of living a simpler and more affordable life with less wants and less stuff -- others, like Parsons School of Design MFA candidate Bernardo Schorr, believe that in the future, many people will have to live in "windowless apartments" of 100 square feet, out of dire necessity. But Schorr's answer to this looming societal crisis of over-cramped urban centers involve what he calls "Mixed Reality Living Spaces," where technology is used to create immersive environments that give the inhabitant an illusion of living in a much larger, well-lit space. Schorr explains:

Digital technologies will allow us to immerse in different spaces within the same environment, providing a relief from the sensation of confinement. Through digital augmentation, each person will live in a space that is presented in several different forms throughout a normal day: a bedroom, an office, a library, a dining room... and many more. Part of our existence will extend into the digital world – our life will exist in a Mixed Reality.

© Bernardo Schorr

Schorr's video demonstrates how a small room with one window can be transformed into suit various activities: a brightly lit room for reading, where the occupant can gaze out of digitally projected windows and see an 'outdoors' filled with activity. Transformer furniture is a crucial part of the concept, allowing the user to change, mix and adapt the space to their needs, integrating tightly with the digital flux of artificial environments.

© Bernardo Schorr
© Bernardo Schorr
© Bernardo Schorr

With technology evolving at an ever-increasing pace and urban development speeding off the horizon of humans' often shortsighted view, Schorr's concept is quite feasible and even (scarily) possible. After all, in places like metropolitan Tokyo, coffin-sized apartments already exist -- and a digital, immersive environment might actually help things quite a bit. The question is, would we want to live in such a way -- and if not, what other paths could we establish instead? More over at Mixed Reality Living Spaces and Bernardo Schorr's website.

Tags: Small Spaces | Smart Home | Technology | Urban Planning