What makes co-living so special
More and more people are at home anywhere in the world, own only the bare essentials and simply take their work with them on their laptop. Instead of having their own homes, they are increasingly living in furnished co-living apartments – to a large extent due to the shortage of housing in cities. What may initially sound like a stopgap is in fact a modern form of living that meets very diverse needs, such as those for personal space, community, convenience and aesthetics – and this development is more than just a short-lived trend.
Living together – with service and style
Co-living apartments differ from conventional house-shares and flat-shares in many respects. In most cases, their residents are young professionals, start-up founders and career-oriented individuals from across the globe who live together for a limited period of time. Their expectations of a high-quality, aesthetic interior design are therefore demanding. The same applies to services: Electricity, Internet and the weekly cleaning are included, and so are towels, gym equipment, the swimming pool and washing machine. The concept brings a hotel to mind – the only difference is that the guests live and work together for longer.
It is not just cost reasons or environmental concerns that drive people to share spaces, equipment and Wi-Fi. Instead, they are primarily motivated by a desire for mutual inspiration, networking and community. A microcosm springs up, offering the residents everything under one roof: café, open-plan office, gym, lounge and terrace. Alongside the communal areas, co-living apartments naturally also have personal spaces for quiet retreat. Individually furnished micro apartments with a bedroom and bathroom provide the necessary counterbalance to the expansive loft feel of the shared spaces.
From car sharing to short-stay apartments
From co-working and car sharing to rental furniture and urban gardening, the principles of the sharing economy are being adopted in more and more fields. The shortage of space in large conurbations is intensifying, and housing costs keep on rising. At the same time, employees and freelancers are increasingly mobile thanks to digitalisation. They live in Berlin for a few years, then move to London for a short time. Sharing cars, gardens and desks is only the logical consequence of this development.
In this way, how we live is transforming. A short-stay co-living apartment is a perfect fit for the needs of the mobile generation. But this is about more than just practical considerations. A beautiful interior design, comfort and individuality are as important to home lifestyle as service, facilities and equipment, and communal spaces for relaxation and work. By the same token, mutual inspiration, cultural exchanges and the opportunity to learn from each other unconstrained by national borders are also vitally important.
Creative Director of imm cologne
How co-living apartments are furnished
The trend for co-living apartments is resulting in new requirements for furniture. It has to be multifunctional, high quality and durable . In large shared spaces in particular, the furniture should provide structure, serve as a spatial partition or create islands of quiet. Warm colours, soft edges and natural materials and fabrics paired with plants provide the touch of home that is needed.
Whether it is a co-working or a co-living facility, the spaces must be functional, welcoming and neutral while still maintaining a personal feel. After all, people from different cultures and different professions spend a lot of time with each other in long- and short-stay apartments. The small personal units should be designed for comfort and be flexibly adaptable, for example by incorporating folding furniture or pull-out tables and beds.
Modern forms of living: Das Apartment HAUS 2022
Sebastian Herkner is collaborating with Luca Nichetto, Stefan Diez and Kate Booy of Studio Truly Truly on an exciting project for imm cologne 2022. Das Apartment HAUS is set to be an impressive showcase that demonstrates how very different people can live together in a short-stay apartment. The concept will feature co-working, co-living and outdoor areas in which creative interior design ideas enable both communal living and focused work. The addition of four small private units will provide the necessary quiet spaces for self-development and relaxation.
The project focuses on one central question: How can each individual live independently yet together with others? The idea is to create structures without compromising the open character of the communal spaces. Boundaries are invisible, fostering a feeling of independence – but without being isolated. This feeling has become even more important as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The micro apartments by contrast pose an entirely different challenge: Space-saving, multifunctional furniture will create a pleasant ambience while the neutral but cosy interior design says: “You’re home!”
How we will live tomorrow
Will co-living and short-stay apartments one day replace conventional forms of living? This is quite conceivable in desirable cities and neighbourhoods. Find out about other trends you will encounter in tomorrow’s interior design in the Future Living section of our magazine