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Stephanie Hornig

11 Couch Designs of the Future

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Stephanie Hornig

Are you just gonna sit there? When you could be sprawling, cuddling, storing, or hiding? Check out 11 new concepts in sofa design.

1. Sleeping Back With Legs

The Austrian designer Stephanie Hornig describes her Camp Daybed (above) thusly: “The camp daybed is a sleeping bag with legs, on which we can relax during the day and sleep at night.” It doesn’t have much back support, but given the choice between cocooning up inside my couch or just sitting on it, call me a caterpillar every time.

2. Something for every room

Courtesy of Archello

For her final project at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Fanny Adams designed the ultimate Leatherman of futons. It’s a double bed, it’s a couch, it’s a storage area, and it’s a table and desk. It’s all you will ever need if you ever have to go back to living in that storage unit.

3. A couch you can actually get lost in

Courtesy of Gizmag

Created by Italian designer Emanuele Magini, The Sosia (which means Doppelganger) is Play-Doh is sofa form. You can slouch it, zip it, divide it, and hide inside of it. Actually, that is way better than Play-Doh.

4. Naptime included

Courtesy of DesignRulz

Multiplo could be your everything, especially for parties. First, all the guests at your place sit in a square and tell everyone one interesting fact about themselves. Then, with a few folds, snacks are served on what is now a table. Then, you can stack them up and play fort. Lastly, lay the whole thing out for multiple person naptime. Awesome.

5. Gone to the dogs

Courtesy of Yankodesign

INU YOCHI Dog Pod, Hound Heaven.” Your dog’s sofa is boring, too. This one lets a pooch really dig himself in and get comfortable.

6. The Origami Sofa

Courtesy of Cattelan Italia

The Origami Sofa Bed by Andrea Lucatello. It’s not so much about the comfort or the versatility (although the Origami does fold down into a funky little bed)—it’s about the triangles. You just don’t see enough triangles beautifully rendered in furniture design.

7. A Bean bag straight out of Star Trek

Courtesy of Alexander Rehn

The Cay Sofa is from Swiss designer Alexander Rehn. It’s supposed to be like a hyper-intelligent bean bag, anticipating your movements. I’ll admit the video doesn’t make the product look too inviting, what with all the rolling and flopping going on. But it does look like something straight out of the Star Trek: The Next Generation prop department, which is all some people really want in a sofa.

8. Bamboo-framed Sofabed

Courtesy of Ole Jensen Design

There is some undeniably sweet about the "We are Families" Sofabed by Ole Jensen. He used only two materials—cotton and bamboo—and made a simple couch that is actually just a pile of little sleeping mats. It doesn’t look like it’s for actual sitting, but who cares? It’s so adorable!

9. For any mood

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Anima Causa Feel Seating System is balls. Yep, 80 foam balls all tied together and waiting for you to pile into any position that “reflects the ever changing emotional state of the body.” Set mine to “ennui.”

10. Reclining is the new sitting

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Carousel Sofa by Andrej Statskij is more proof that lying is the new sitting. The entire piece is made from coated polyurethane foam and was inspired by carnival rides. Carnies not included, but not difficult to obtain, either.   

11. Basically...a pillow.

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Blandito pillow, from Oradaria Design in Florence, was intended to shake up the world of “sofa morphology.” This means, I think, that sofas should not be just stupid big chairs that don’t do anything. The Blandito can be folded into a love burrito, tied into a chair, or pinched into a big soft stool. 

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Pol Viladoms
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architecture
One of Gaudí's Most Famous Homes Opens to the Public for the First Time
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Pol Viladoms

Visiting buildings designed by iconic Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí is on the to-do list of nearly every tourist passing through Barcelona, Spain, but there's always been one important design that visitors could only view from the outside. Constructed between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens was the first major work in Gaudí's influential career, but it has been under private ownership for its entire existence. Now, for the first time, visitors have the chance to see inside the colorful building. The house opened as a museum on November 16, as The Art Newspaper reports.

Gaudí helped spark the Catalan modernism movement with his opulent spaces and structures like Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and La Sagrada Familia. You can see plenty of his architecture around Barcelona, but the eccentric Casa Vicens is regarded as his first masterpiece, famous for its white-and-green tiles and cast-iron gate. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Casa Vicens is a treasured part of the city's landscape, yet it has never been open to the public.

Then, in 2014 the private Spanish bank MoraBanc bought the property with the intention of opening it up to visitors. The public is finally welcome to take a look inside following a $5.3 million renovation. To restore the 15 rooms to their 19th-century glory, designers referred to historical archives and testimonies from the descendants of former residents, making sure the house looked as much like Gaudí's original work as possible. As you can see in the photos below, the restored interiors are just as vibrant as the walls outside, with geometric designs and nature motifs incorporated throughout.

In addition to the stunning architecture, museum guests will find furniture designed by Gaudí, audio-visual materials tracing the history of the house and its architect, oil paintings by the 19th-century Catalan artist Francesc Torrescassana i Sallarés, and a rotating exhibition. Casa Vicens is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. General admission costs about $19 (€16).

An empty room in the interior of Casa Vicens

Interior of house with a fountain and arched ceilings

One of the house's blue-and-white tiled bathrooms

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

All images courtesy of Pol Viladoms.

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iStock
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10 Charming Quirks of Old Houses
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iStock

From the totally charming to the truly bizarre, older houses feature tons of tiny details that you'd never find in a brand-new construction. If you're house hunting for an oldie-but-goodie, here are 10 quirky things you might find.

1. MOTHER-IN-LAW BED

Unlike a Murphy bed, which cranks out of the wall, a mother-in-law bed cranks out of the ceiling.

2. DUMBWAITERS


iStock

Any little kid who read Harriet the Spy when they were young wanted a dumbwaiter in their house. Despite what Harriet used it for (spying, of course), dumbwaiters were not meant to carry people; they were most often used as kitchen help, to carry dishes and things when the kitchen and dining room were on different levels of the house. They're still utilized in some restaurants today, and a more modern version can be found in libraries and large office buildings to ferry large amounts of books and files from floor to floor.

3. BUILT-IN BEEHIVES

Don't call an exterminator: built-in beehives are supposed to be there. These were actually installed on purpose for the convenience of the beekeeping homeowner. Pipes go through the walls and behind the walls were beehives. The bees could move about freely through the pipes and make honey. When someone in the kitchen downstairs wanted honey, they simply trekked up the stairs, removed the back of the hive, and grabbed what they needed.

4. COAL CHUTES


Though few people use coal as a heating source these days, many older homes still feature coal chutes: typically, there's a big iron door visible on the outside of the house where shipments of coal would be shoveled in.

5. PHONE NICHE

Not so long ago, landlines were essential to communication—and they weren't the tiny, non-intrusive devices we know today. They were big, heavy, cumbersome things that took up a fair amount of space. To try to keep phones off of countertops and out of the way, home builders started making niches in walls. It seems as though a lot of people are repurposing the niches these days as a place to store mail or perch a plant or two. Boing Boing found one (it was built for Jean Harlow) and thought perhaps it was a place to store champagne or milk bottles; it was later concluded that the spot used to be a phone niche and was divided into a place to vertically store mail once the phone was no longer needed there.

6. SERVANT STAIRCASES


By Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

In old mansions that required a large household staff to keep them running, servants were expected to stay out of sight. After all, you wouldn't want your well-heeled guests running into the maid on the staircase, would you? How gauche. The solution was a separate staircase in the back just for servant use. If you've ever run across a kitchen or pantry that could be accessed by two staircases and wondered what on earth the purpose was, now you know.

7. BUTLER'S PANTRY


By Hubbard, Cortlandt V. - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

How nice would it be to have a giant pantry separate from your kitchen? Old houses often have these tiny kitchens, which make a great place for storing your food. But that wasn't always their purpose; some just contained extra counter space and sinks so that servants could do their thing out of sight. In Europe, the silver was often kept in the butler's pantry and the butler would actually sleep in there to guard the silver.

8. COLD CLOSETS

Don't let the name mislead you: a cold closet is not the same thing as an icebox. An icebox was a free-standing piece of furniture that held a big block of ice near the top to keep the contents frozen. (Icemen delivered new blocks of ice every day, just like the milkman.) A cold closet, on the other hand, was built into the house and couldn't actually keep things frozen, just cool. So while you could keep your veggies and cheese and meats cool, stocking ice cream in the cold closet would be a bad idea.

9. MILK DOORS


By Downtowngal - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

It's been a while since any of us had milk delivered to our back doors, but back when that was the norm, a milk door was standard with a lot of houses. The milkman would open a tiny door on the side of the house, usually right next to the main door, and basically leave the milk in between the walls. Then the homeowners could open the door on their side and remove the bottles. Voila! Fresh milk to go with your breakfast.

10. ROOT CELLARS

Just like in The Wizard of Oz, you have to go outside to access a root cellar—and it was the first place you'd go if you saw a twister off in the distance. As the name suggests, it was used to store veggies for long periods of time, particularly over the winter.

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