Jessy Heikrujam - BA Design Management & Cultures
Minimalism in design has been the trend for a while. From industrial design to graphic design, the idea that less is more have become a norm in design. It is seen in works of industrial design legends like Dieter Rams, Hans Wagner and other modern designers. We can see the hints of it on designs from almost every part of the world. The popularisation of the movement by brands such as Ikea and minimalist brand like Muji have helped the movement reach larger audience as well.
The movement has recently been quite influential in architecture and has manifested in architecture in the form of tiny homes. The world is on the verge of an important phase in its existence, where the effects of our actions towards nature could have adverse effects on the future of the planet. As a furniture designer, my fondness for minimalism and love for clever space management in tiny homes have got me hooked on to this movement as well. I even plan to build one for myself in a few years. The major USP of the tiny house movement which is its sustainability, cost and time effectiveness would easily convinced anyone that it's a great idea to build one.
But recently, I have become quite sceptical of the trend as it has given me a few questions about the ethics and the genuineness around of the trend. Can the tiny house movement last? Is it really sustainable? Is it ethical to raise a child in a tiny house or have a family? I feel that every human deserves to choose their own style of dwelling, but I also fear that the normalisation of people living in small spaces could harm the future of housing. This tiny 125 sq. metres flat in Kensington was being sold in 2017 at the price of £225,000. This may not seem right today, but if we normalise living in tiny spaces, this may soon become an acceptable practice in the future. With prices of micro-apartments such as this sky-rocketing, I feel that it would be a great reminder for the people fuelling the tiny house movement to understand that normalising living in micro dwellings will affect the way we lived in the future.
Several companies have jumped in to cater to the demand created by the movement. For example, Danish company Vipp manufactures Shelter, a 592-metres square tiny house which comes filled with the company's line of homeware products, which would cost you £585,000. The trend is definitely a positive trend. Living in a small space often requires getting rid of belongings and keeping only the essentials. But with companies trying to cash in on the trend, specifically in the case of the VIPP Shelter, where the house is made from unsustainable 500 tones of glass and metal, I feel that following a trend blindly could do more harm than good to the environment and to the future cost of housing.