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Commercial Realization of Co-living | Commercial Co-living

Published on April 13, 2019 by Qasim Naqvi

This article deals with the Commercial Realization of Co-living which include kitchen and furniture design.

Kitchen Design

In the current housing market, there are numerous companies and independent providers offering contemporary co-living or living as a service. Large commercial developments (company-managed) focus on a balance of function and aesthetic, popularly influenced by Scandinavian design, minimalism, and contemporary urban architecture. Within these spaces are distinct public and private areas often combined with the provision of luxury services.

The communities are managed, and driven by organized events, supported by staff members. These developments and their organizers have access to considerable resources to invest in providing a high quality of living in premium locations. However, this focus on providing luxurious designed spaces, and keeping close control over the community, does not reflect the research and guidelines found in successful application of co-living through history. In general, developments of this scale are not being experimental enough with their spatial categorization and design choices, which is limiting the opportunities for resident engagement. Unable to control the space around them, and adapt its function to their individual or collective needs, residents struggle to take control and build confidence in their immediate environment, which is being reflected in short tenancies.

In part, this is because artifacts and spaces that are desirable enough to compete in the high-end market, compromise on functionality, and reduce opportunities for interaction. This unique need for a specific combination of features can only be responded to by design and development. What is evident, further, in these spaces is an over-compensation for the needs of residents, in response to a lack of understanding. This includes excessive resources, spaces, and services, the wasteful provision of which is not in line with sustainable development. Independent (self-managed) co-living sites, on the other hand, are experiencing some different challenges.

Furniture Design

Furniture refers to objects, created or found, that support human activities and respond to physical and emotional needs. These artefacts can be used internally or externally and can be considered design, a form of decoration and, in some cases, both. Types of furniture include seat (single and multiple), sleeping or lying, entertainment, tables/ surfaces, storage, and sets.

Furniture is also commonly categorized by material or location. Typically, they perform a specific function which dictates a certain form, in some cases added to for aesthetic purposes. Through history, furniture has been explored extensively resulting in unique and distinct styles. It plays a significant role in our lived experience as it has both tangible and intangible qualities. As a field, it intersects significantly with interior design. This project is specifically interested in furniture that breaks traditional categorization to provide multiple functions and serve the needs different users.

This emerging concept is perhaps the least developed of all furniture types, as it is the most complex and challenging to design and apply successfully (Lawson, 2013). This type of furniture integrates, in the context of this project, with co-living as it can respond to the unpredictability of user needs, and encourages interaction, co-design, and co-creation. This is reflective of artifacts role as an actor within a greater network, responding to situations whilst continuing to provide function.

To create additional value, furniture that serves multiple functions can also be modular. This describes furniture that can be built and expanded upon so as to offer additional control and responsibility to the user. This process of interaction, and the relationship this builds with the artifact, creates a cognitive bias, known as the IKEA Effect. This also applies to DIY products where the user plays a role in its physical construction. Designing furniture to fit into these categories presents unique challenges.


Category: Coliving

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