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This project is from the Summer of 2010 and is now archived. Visit the IMA Island page for the next related project.

Packed like sardines…

When I first read Andrea Zittel’s request for proposals for the Indianapolis Island, I immediately began researching more of her work including the Wagon Stations, Escape Vehicles, and other living units in addition to her furniture design.  I found it interesting that Zittel chooses to redesign life and living spaces according to the American dream of “Freedom.”  Many people find the need to obtain as many material possessions as possible to obtain happiness, but Zittel interprets freedom differently.  According to her, the more possessions we own, the less free we are.  If we “shrink down and slip between the cracks of larger systems” we achieve “Small Liberties” (Zittel).

So in the vast, seemingly infinite space of the desert, Zittel fabricates these tiny living structures just large enough for a person to lie down in.  This idea of redesigning life and breaking it down into simpler necessities as a choice was naturally a main inspiration for the designs Mike and I came up with.  Since we are living on the small space of the island, it is helpful to learn from the modular, dual purpose furniture designed by Andrea Zittel.  If you have not checked out her website, you should.  Also watch her on Art21 and Art Babble.

In addition to Zittel’s designs, I have also been researching cities like Hong Kong and Tokyo where space is extremely limited because of the dense population.  People living in cities like these are forced to value space differently and have redesigned their lives accordingly.

One example of innovative space-efficient architecture design can be seen in this video, where architect Gary Chang shows his secret to a 300 sq. ft apartment with twenty-four interchangeable rooms!  So clever. Gary Chang’s Transforming Apartment

Photo Credit:  Marcel Lam for The New York Times

Another inspiration for our designs can be found in Tokyo.  I have always wanted to visit Tokyo, and everyone seems to think I am crazy for wanting to spend the night at the Capsule Inn, where guests stay in a chamber only 1M x 1M x 2M .  In this tiny space just large enough to lay down in, there is a TV, radio, alarm clock, and adjustable lighting. 

Photo from Capsule Inn’s website.

All of these sources have been important in the designing process for the island interior.  I am excited for the days to come where we will actually be living in similar conditions.

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