[…] you need to plan for that which cannot be planned. When you are at your peak you must assume failure is imminent and when you are at the trough you must assume success is inevitable.
All failures of strategy are rooted in the assumption that outcomes are predictable.” —Horace Dediu, on HP’s decade-long departure
As Americans in a capitalist economy, we typically place a premium on more. More time, more money, more space, more stuff. But more isn’t always better. The more stuff you have, the more encumbered you become. The more money you have, the more problems you invariably encounter.
There’s something inspiring and inherently appreciable about doing more with less. A technologist needn’t look very far for some examples.
- An economy of words helped Twitter become a social networking juggernaut.
- An economy of code is celebrated by competitions like 10K Apart and JS1k.
- The signature of one of the most successful tech companies in the world is minimalist design.
While reading about the SF rental bubble earlier today, I considered how these constraints are dealt with in architecture and interior design. Surely enterprising individuals have figured out better ways to deal with small spaces than just cramming in oversized furniture. After a few minutes of searching, I came away astonished by how smartly and artfully people transformed otherwise uninhabitable spaces.
Luke Clark Tyler lives in a 78 sq. ft. “shoebox studio” (read: large closet) in Hell’s Kitchen, and somehow manages to make it look like a space-efficient dorm room:
Over in Barcelona, inspired by the push latches of small boats, Christian Schallert turns a run-down 258 sq. ft. pigeon loft into a zen abode:
In Hong Kong, Gary Chang has (what now seems like) a generous 344 sq. ft. to work with, and uses it to construct a modular masterpiece:
In Japan, kyosho jutaku (micro homes) are often a practical necessity. As such, both the residents and the architects are challenged with maximizing and transforming every last inch of the space:
“Less” is an important constraint. Working with it instead of against it presents tremendous opportunities for innovation.