Looking at therow of wooden doors in this Tokyo apartment, you might assumeit’s hiding a broom closet or, perhaps, a tidy stack of linens. In actuality, pulling the doors towards the wall causes them to fold like an accordion, exposing a kitchenette.
This hidden kitchen is the work of Japanese design studio Minorpoet. According to studio founder Hiroaki Matsuyama, his squad modeled the minimalist apartment aftera Machiya–a traditional Kyoto townhouse in which, custom dictates, the kitchen must not be visible from the living room.In the case of this6 50 -square-foot Tokyohome, the kitchen is technically in the living room. But Minorpoet’shideaway feature sidesteps that problem.
It’s a creative use of a small space–something designers have been doing more of, lately, as micro-apartments become increasingly common. MIT Media lab developed a robotic wall that serves asa shelving division, pop-out desk, closet, and trundle-style bed. New York City’s first microapartments feature fold-out lounges, extendable kitchen tables, and experiential perkslike housekeeping and weekly errand-runners. You can even hire someone to rig up a bed that descendsfrom your living room ceiling when you’re ready to call it a night.
The key to micro-living, in other words, ismultifunctionality. WhatMinorpoet’s design demonstrates is that multipurpose-ing one’s home needn’t involvea levitating bed or a robot wall.
The tiny kitchen saves you space, and the doors preserve the uncluttered aesthetic of the entryway.In Japan, there is a culture to determine beauty in plain design, Matsuyama says. The outcome is an apartment that pulls double-duty. It’s an economical use of space, sure. But mostly, it’s just beautiful.