Small is beautiful: Work, Rest and play

Posted 27/07/15 by Sarita Pannekoek

“A city as London will attract more people than it can comfortably house.”
- Lucien Smithers, Pocket living.

More and more people are moving into cities for job opportunities, urban convenience, access to education and the social and cultural occasions that come with city life. 50% of the worlds population lives in cities right now and the UN predicts this number will grow up to 75% by 2050. Restricted space makes the cost of living high and our living spaces small.

“54% of 18-24 year olds are happy to consider living in a studio flat that makes living in central locations more affordable.”
- a study by Knight Franks.

My micro NY (left), Converted blacksmith warehouse of Dorte Mandrup-Poulsen featured in Kinfolk magazine  (right)

In order to live small, spaces are being designed to be multi-functional and flexible for work, rest and play. 
Mono-light by Os&Oos (left), Chop chop Kitchen by Dirk Biotto (middle), Multi-functional Column by Os&Oos (right)

Graham Hill brings another layer to this trend with his project “Less might actually be more, less stuff and less space equals a smaller footprint and saving more money, but is also gives us more freedom, more time and more happiness. What do you need to do? Edit ruthlessly, think small and make multi-functional.”

Graham Hill
- life-edited apartment

People are beginning to gradually bring simplicity in their lifestyle and space. They become global nomads, who rent and may have fewer possessions but valuable memories, living smaller to leave a smaller footprint. Enabled by technology, work and social life are not bound to one location, friends are all over the world and the office is no longer static. 

Zoku, Amsterdam


The result is new spaces which act as backdrops for these blurred functions. ZOKU is a new brand of hotel that features micro-lofts merging living & working, especially designed for travelling professionals. It challenges the traditional hotel room, creating a hybrid space where global nomads can live, work and socialize comfortably, as if they were home. Even though the space is only 24m2, the loft contains a kitchen, dining area, living area, bedroom, bathroom and storage space. Temporary resident’s are allowed to change the art in the hallway with the art in their ZOKU loft to create a more personalised feeling.


Zoku, Amsterdam

ZOKU creates workspaces both in the loft but also in the shared social spaces, especially designed for working professionals. 

Small6Studio Makkinik Bey (left), Nomadic chair by Jorge Penadés (middle), Mobile Hospitality by Chmara Rosinke (right)

Global nomadism is about simplifying our products and environments, downsizing them to meet our fundamental needs.

As houses become smaller, public space becomes more important. Chmara Rosinke created a Mobile Hospitality, transforming into a pop-up restaurant. Studio Makkinek Bey and Jorge Penadés design goods which are foldable and light-weight, created for easy transportation.

 Small7Terra Panonica, Serbia

Terra Panonica is a cultural centre in Serbia offering creative and leisure projects that focus on design, culture, creative, social and education. An agile and multifunctional meeting place for all.

 Small8The Beauty Library, Tokyo

Part shop, part café, the Beauty Library focusses on the link between inner and outer bodycare and have created a space and service that fuses beauty with food & drink. The store also functions as self-study space and holds small events and workshops. This is a retailer who has taken a closer look into the category to build a flexible and engaging experience. 

The lines between our professional, social and private life are blurring. Giving rise to flexible spaces to work, rest and play, at home, in public, retail, hospitality & workspace. 

Your Studio
, an insight-led design studio creates captivating branding and environments for workspace, retail and hospitality brands.
If you would like to discuss further please contact Sarah on +44 (0) 207 033 2809 or

Tagged:Retail, Hospitality, Urbanisation, Living, Flexibility, Multi-functional, Global nomads, Work rest and play, Simplifying, Workspace, Public space

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