A UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED truth about living in New York City is that there’s very little space to go around. What passes for an entire apartment in Manhattan is considered a walk-in closet in Des Moines. This dearth of square footage has resulted in a couple notable phenomenons: Namely, pocket-emptying rents and some—let’s just call it—creative uses of space.
I recently glimpsed one particularly unusual vision of our inevitable micro-living future. Twenty floors up in a luxury midtown Manhattan studio apartment, a hulking piece of furniture sat pressed against the wall. From the front it looked like an entertainment console with built in shelving. From the side, it appeared to be a regular bookshelf, save for a small button. At nine feet tall, five feet wide and seven feet long, the thing took up nearly a quarter of the apartment.