The successful micro apartment hinges on artful stacking. The smallest apartment in De Rotterdam, OMA's recently completed mixed-use tower complex in the Netherlands, takes up only 60 square meters (a smidgeon under 650 square feet, smaller than the average racquetball court). Architect Rem Koolhaas envisioned De Rotterdam to be a "vertical city," meaning that a whole host of functions—offices, apartments, a hotel, shops, dining, and more—must be concentrated in a small space.
The company providing apartments in the building's west tower, 44/floors, took a video tour of the tiny apartment's space-saving design, showing how with a little design legwork, living in 650 square feet can start to feel a little luxurious:
The bed folds out on top of the sofa in the living room, with decorative plants attached. In another room, a bed unfolds on top of a desk, without even requiring the user to move his laptop as the workspace turns into a bedroom. Slabs of wood that look like colorful, decorative pieces of geometric art can be taken off the wall to fold out into ingenious dining chairs. Tables can be stacked together in the living room space in case of a group dinner.
"It's design, it has to look good. And it must be comfortable," Wim De Lathauwer of 44/floors, says in the video, which shows off designs by the Italian furniture company Clei. It does look good, especially since in this model apartment, the occupant's only possessions seem to be a coat and a pair of keys. Comfort, on the other hand, may be questionable. Micro-housing is not without its downsides. Some experts have warned that New York City's even smaller 300-square-foot micro apartment designs might not be great for the mental health of occupants, including families. (Do you really want to stack parents, kids, and siblings directly on top of each other 24 hours a day?)
But for a design-minded individual who doesn't mind having to pull a bed out of the wall each night, it looks fantastic.