If there’s one thing the pandemic home quarantine has made people realize, it’s the importance of a living space that can accommodate any and every activity, such as eating, sleeping, relaxing, exercising, and working.
This versatility in both new and existing living spaces “that can adapt to change” is the future of interior design, at least according to interior designer Chat Fores.
“We have to adapt and we have to adjust,” Fores says in a webinar called, “The Future of Architecture and Interior Design: Reshaping Our Cities, Buildings, and Homes” hosted by Enderun Colleges, which also coincides with the launch of the school’s College of Architecture and Design. “We have to make our spaces more functional and more efficient without having to sacrifice the main purpose of our house, which is for us to relax and for us to bond with our family. We have to put all these functions together.”
An easy way to do this is through what Fores mentions as transformer-type furniture or “furniture that can likewise adapt to change.” Also called smart furniture, these pieces are common solutions for saving space and maximizing any area of the house.
This type of furniture has been around for a while. In fact, Fores and her own design firm’s first foray into smart furniture dates back to 2011 for a studio unit showroom. The firm has since established itself as experts in creating illusions of big spaces, regardless of the house’s actual size.
A common transformer-type furniture Fores has used in residential units is a sofa or dining table that converts into a full-size bed.
She says a misconception with small spaces is that “people tend to sacrifice the size of their furniture.”
“You don’t have to. Gone are the days you had a sofa bed that would convert into a little bed,” she says. “What you can do is keep that size of furniture but take away those that you don’t need, so you still have the right proportion and scale in a room.”
For occupants of tiny spaces who still wish to have a large-screen television, Fores suggests a “basic” but effective use of a TV set.
“Make use of a set that allows your television to pivot wherever you may be, whether inside the bedroom or the adjacent living room,” she says.
Fores also shares a leather chest that’s particularly useful for those working remotely.
“You can open this piece to store your books and use it as a study,” she says. “When it’s not in use, you can simply fold it back and it becomes like a chest.”
She adds that it’s also proof that transformer-type furniture doesn’t have to be boring.
“Just because you have smart furniture doesn’t mean you have to adopt a functional and utilitarian-looking space,” she explains. “You can have something contemporary. You can add a lot of glitz and glamour. You can add your art collection. You can have anything.”
The interior designer admits, though, that while the pieces help a house’s flexibility for “everything else that may come later on,” prices can go as high as the cost of a car.
“For those who cannot afford such a move into transformer-type furniture, you can always start with the basic pieces,” she says. “For instance, you can have a banquette seat against the window or against the wall that you can lift up and underneath it can be storage for things you need to keep away.”
Fores also suggests assessing what the occupant of the space needs. This way, the pieces can adapt to the user and he/she will be able “to create transformer-type furniture on your own.”
“What does he do? Does he work from the house? Does he have a lot of clothes? Does he have a lot of cooking materials? It really depends on the usage,” she explains. “You can always be more ingenious. It’s not just about how much money you have, but also how creative you can be.”