In 1996, Barcelona architects Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores built their wonderful Casa En Una Maleta, or House in a Suitcase, in a 293 square foot apartment. They wrote:
The project investigates minimum space in our daily activities; the pieces of furniture open according to each moment of the day. Thus, the unique space of the room 9x3x3 metres varies in size and use during the everyday activities. These two big packages are the ones that put the inhabitants in relationship with the space of the room. When they open them, they guess why they have such size: in their different parts, hidden uses appear and fragment the big unique space into smaller spaces of human scale.
In 2005, I wrote about it, saying:
There is so much about this that we like. The bed slides into a drawer rather than being a Murphy-type fold-up- murphy's require good discipline, make the bed and tie down the straps and fold it up- a drawer is so much better- when the doorbell rings and your mother is behind it, shove it closed and everything is hidden....Ideas like this have so much promise- Instead of taking what the developers offer you, take space and add your personal mix to it. It is the urban equivalent of camping equipment- find a space and inhabit it.
In 2010 Fair Companies found it, and did this video." Flores takes us through a day in the life in a House in a Suitcase where the furniture reflects your every move."
Now in 2013, Core77 chimes in on the design, intrigued by the idea of floating the furniture in the middle of the space instead of the usual scheme of things in tiny apartments, where everything is built into the walls.
What do you think—would a less Spartan take on a center-of-the-room-based design have legs? Do you think people stick with built-ins-against-walls out of rote habit, or because it's the "correct" solution, from an efficiency standpoint?
Clearly it does have legs- here is an idea that is so interesting that it is still coming around after seventeen years. Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores deserve a lot of credit for doing a design that still provokes after all this time.