Barometer: design

Capital fever

Rocky by Marc Newson for Magis £645, at 100% Design.;

Arthur Analts Money bowls £80/£200 (small/large), Emerging Brands at 100% Design.

Plant & Moss Clamp Lamp from £240, Emerging Brands at 100% Design.

Melin Tregwynt Mondo Cushion Spice £50, Melin Tregwynt at Heal’s for LDF.

Alexena Cayless chair £550, at Design Junction.;

Bertha cabinet by Donna Wilson £1,290, at SCP’s Design Department Store.

Meet the designer: Simon Woodroffe

Simon Woodroffe is famous for his neat but outlandish, Japanese-inspired ideas: first Yo! Sushi, the conveyer-belt restaurant group, then Yotel, the hotel chain that packs guests into tiny “cabins”.

Simon Woodroffe

Next in Woodroffe’s sights is the property market, with the launch next week of Yo! Home at the 100% Design festival. Woodroffe, who lives on a houseboat, is catering to the problem of limited urban space, not just in the UK but worldwide. Yo! Home will sell small apartments housed in purpose-built flats, with mechanical moving parts to divide and create space on demand.

“Nobody’s really done it before,” says Woodroffe. “It’s the ability to change a one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom apartment, a party room into a cinema into a dining room into a study … ”

The idea hatched about seven years ago, Woodroffe says, with everyone from a superyacht designer to a rock-show engineer involved in refining the concept: “I always start with a piece of paper and start sketching it out myself – I’m good at having ideas and getting them started, but I leave the operating side to people who do it better than me.” Woodroffe does have some expertise in this area: he left school at 16 with no qualifications, but was “lucky enough” to get a job as an assistant stage manager at Richmond Theatre and became a stage designer in the 1970s. As with stage mechanics, Yo! Home will rely on counterweights to shift the walls and other dividing parts.

So who will buy, and for how much? Woodroffe claims there isn’t a target market. “You can imagine this as something the City kids would like, or perhaps for a husband who works in London during the week, and if the family come up you pull a wall and a second bedroom appears for the children.”

The price has yet to be disclosed, but the 800 sq ft prototype cost £300,000 to put together.

Yo! Home launches on September 19;

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