I almost went into cardiac arrest when I came across Swedish studio White Design’s ‘Optibo’ housing solution.  The Optibo is a miniscule multi-functional residence, featuring furniture that is stored under the floor.  It weighs in at an astonishing 280 square feet!  (I’ve been in a 900 sq/ft bathroom before!)

Ok… here’s reason number one why my heart rate went up a couple hundo points… Look carefully at both these pics below.

hmmmm… It couldn’t be the same room, could it?  You betcha it is!  The chairs, sofa and table are on lifts that bring them up from under the floor.  Quite the inventive use of space, eh?

Here’s the foot of the bed in relation to the dining area…..

…and the absolutely gorgeous bedroom.  What a rich, lively environment.  The large ‘dandelion’ thing on the left is actually a semi-translucent sliding door that closes off the bathroom.  It also effectively brings in an interesting scale and pattern that makes the small space feel much larger…. So here’s reason number two of near cardiac ‘arresion’:

Perhaps the most striking bathroom I’ve ever seen!  The use of color, texture, and materials is absolutely stunning.  Note some of the details that make it successful (keep in mind how small the entire apartment is):  The floor mat doesn’t have an end or a beginning, tricking the eye to assume it goes on forever.  The use of glass tile from floor to ceiling creates a sense of depth.  The mirror pulls in the far end of the bedroom, which further expands the space.  My favorite detail however is the little LED lights on the ceiling.  I’m pretty sure I would sit on the can and search for constellations.

Who thought shackin’ up in 280 sq/ft could be so exciting and livable?….until now, not me!

Small spaces have a world of benefits to their larger, less inventive brothers:

-For one, you often have the opportunity to live in a location that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

-They are much cheaper to build and maintain.

-You can splurge on better quality materials since you will need fewer of them.

-They also force you to be much more selective in what you purchase.  You really gotta love what you buy, cause there’s no place to hide it if you don’t!

About Joshua Foss

Joshua is a leading voice for transformational change. He is the editor of Metro Hippie, co-founder and director of development of the Ecala Group, and adjunct faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is also an ambassador for the Living Building Challenge and is a frequent speaker at national conferences, trade shows and summits.