Tiny, perfect, movable, flat-pack live-work loft

SpaceFlavor, a design firm, won the 2012 Small Project Awards for "Cube," a flatpack live/work loft elegantly crammed into a teeny weeny mobile space.

Responding to the Ming’s preference for zen-modernism, the Cube was designed with simplicity, efficiency and a sense of discovery. The stair and cabinet doors, including a stair slipper-drawer, are concealed, subtly hinting at the openings. Humble yet expressive, Ash plywood panels were hand-selected for their unique grain patterns that resemble Chinese ink landscape paintings and to complement the tatami mats.

Translucent roller shades, a shoji screen and frosted acrylic panels allow daylight to filter through the Cube, while responding to varying needs for privacy. At night the Cube illuminates like a lantern, casting playful shadows on the glowing screens.

Openings to the study and the bed are placed at opposite corners to create a sense of movement, emulating the flow of active Yang and passive Yin elements. Secluded from the activities below, the meditation/tea ceremony loft is accessed by the concealed stair.

Portfolio: Home Remodel & Commercial Interiors San Francisco, Bay Area:



  1. If your living doesn’t include cooking, washing or going to the toilet, I guess it’s ok. Also, it looks like you need space around the cube to get from the living to the sleeping area.

  2. If Aliens are watching us from Space, they’d laugh their asses off at what lengths we go to in order to do as much “work” as possible. This is so utterly strange! And so ridiculous! People are crazy, really.

    1. Well… it started out as the loft being a party pad, but people kept falling over the edge, so they decided to tone it down a bit.

  3. I don’t know… it’s kind of cool.  It seems like the point was to divided up his space for living and working.  I don’t think it’s meant as a total living space on it’s own, but within a larger space.

    I think it would kind of be a nice writing space, for example.  I could have storage boxes with my sources on top, and a nice computer set up down below… draw the shades to keep the kid and the cat out, and that wouldn’t be bad. I like it.

  4. Remove stairs, include metal tube and slotted steps for spiral staircase (or just a flat ladder), gain 12 square feet, maybe a closet to keep the wall for structural support.  You’re welcome.

    1. I have a loft bed with similar stairs. The stairs are actually drawers that have quite a bit of storage space. Not as much as shelves at both ends, but not bad either.

  5. It’s really nice looking… but… somehow I have a feeling that it works better when parked indoors. Might be a nice solution for office “crunch time”, though.

    (Hasn’t this been featured here some time ago… perhaps I read it somewhere else.)

  6. Given that the problem presented isn’t “build an extremely compact space for a human to do all their living in”, but “build a highly adaptable way for someone with a huge live/work space to contain their living bits in a cosy & tidy way”, this is a really beautiful solution. Reduce the footprint to a minimum so it doesn’t impact on the space when students are present, and keep personal items screened privately away.

  7. Wow, the bullshit Orientalism dripping off of this product’s PR is astounding! The exotic East with it’s deep spiritual traditions and tiny, adorable spaces! All people who enter these Yin-Yang/Zen/Japanese/Chinese/(insert-decontextualized-east-asian-term-here) structures will be magically transformed into tea-ceremony-practicing hipsters! This is a box with a bed in it, people. An awesome example of a Tiny House, to be sure, but hardly a Kyoto tea house.

    1. My favorite is the “Japanese” tatami mats but “Chinese” ink painting. 

      In it’s defense though, tatami are great for sleeping on; it wouldn’t be a bad loft.

  8. The Orientalist hype aside, I like this design. It’s a fun structure with a nice clean look, comfortable materials, and diverse functionality. I’ve been a big fan of ‘furnitecture’ going back to Ken Isaacs’ Living Structures. The idea of these multi-purpose mobile living elements offers a lot to explore–especially when the end-user can participate in that. Our contemporary housing is anachronistic. We live in an age and culture where change is the only constant and the notion of ideal or perfect design and permanent function is ridiculous. We should be thinking about living space, our built habitat in general, the way we think about the desktops of our personal computers. Not perfect but adaptive, to us. Always learning. 

    My ideal home would be a simple pavilion with radiant floor heating, radiant ceiling cooling, a nice deep roof overhang, simple window-wall enclosure in alternating transparent and translucent panels, and just a collection of these kinds of furrnitecture structures of varying purpose, freely mobile, freely reconfigurable, freely customizable. A sleeping pod. A Dymaxion bathroom pod, A kitchen island. A dining pod. A few supercabinets. A library/lounge. Other lounges to roll outside as needed. Hydroponic gardening pods. A great cylindrical aquarium. A computing and media workstation–maybe like a CAVE. A personal server and telecom rack. A tinkering workstation with its fab lab tools and integrated workbench. Lighting like sculpture. Space for robots to roam, and play. This is how I imagine the 21st century home. 

    Imagine that pavilion perhaps lightly decorated–a textile block pattern on a minimalist shape. Like the ruins of an enigmatic and lost Modernist civilization repurposed by Post-Industrial retrofit. Like astronaut-settlers moving into Rama…

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