Living in a Box

The Multifunctional Space-Saving Piece of Furniture

As our cities grow and we become increasingly urbanised it seems space is becoming an ever more precious commodity. Tiny bedsit flats abound in most modern cities and often modern apartments are sorely lacking in storage. Designer, Till Könneker moved into a flat with little storage and high windows, and so the idea for Living Cube was born. The design incorporates shelving, a walk-in ‘New Room’ and a bed atop the frame, accessed by stepladder.

“I could not live in my space without my Living Cube, I would need at least 5 different pieces of furniture and double the space,” explains Till. “But now I have a guest bed, a wardrobe, TV display, storage all in one and my room feels much bigger.”

The Living Cube started out life solving Till’s specific requirements, but the idea has proved so popular they can now be built to order in two different sizes, and bespoke designs are also available. Recognising the cube layout might not fit every scenario, Till has also condensed the idea down to make a Living Wall which just incorporates the shelving and with fold-up elements.

Till told us more about his designs:

The Plus: What makes the designs so unique and who do you think the designs would most appeal to?
Till Könneker:
It is a timeless and functional design. It’s for people who want to bring structure to big rooms or functionality and efficiency to small ones. People who want to create more with less. It fits in everywhere and you can add more elements or change elements. If you need a desk in place of the shelf, no problem!

TP: What were the key design challenges you had to overcome?
To keep it simple and minimal. After the first prototype we had to create a reproducible construction which is easy to assemble without a lot of tools.

TP: What materials are used and why?
Black stained spruce. It is a really nice wood and good to work with. You can see drawing of the wood through the black stain, this looks better than just black painted wood.

TP: What’s the most cramped/badly organised space you’ve ever lived in?
My childhood room. I loved to have my floor full of things, ready to play with everything. I still need a little bit of chaos to have inspiration and new ideas.

TP: Are you working on any new designs?
I made some sketches for a Mini Bar Element, a bike rack and a Living Bed but first we have to build a good website with a good order-workflow for the Living Cubes and the Living Wall.
I have a lot of new ideas coming now but the difficulty is in picking the right one, where to invest time and what’s really worth investing in.

At the moment I’m working on an online expose about my father entitled “The Rediscovery of Gernot Bubenik” with photos and stories. I’m also working on the first live Late Night show in Switzerland, and on an art project with a large scanner in my garden called “Close Encounters”. I’m never bored ; )

Photographs by Rob Lewis.