In 2012, entrepreneur Graham Hill, founder of Exceptionlab and ideator of the Anthora CERAMIC cup, moved into a 420-square-foot SoHo studio that would act as his personal residence and a showcase for a movement. “I wanted to start a conversation about how doing more with less could improve our lives from an environmental, financial, and even emotional perspective,” he explains. Graham, who is the founder of eco-blog Treehugger.com and other online ventures, turned to the Internet for ideas, partnering with crowdstorming platform Jovoto to launch an international competition to design the space. Out of 297 entries,the winning submission, authored by two Romanian architecture students, promised the functionality of an area more than twice the apartment’s size, thanks to a fluid layout, a custom moving wall, and transformable furniture.
The new unit was also an opportunity to incorporate emerging technologies, like home automation devices. Insteon smart switches offer app control over the lighting and fan; the front door’s August Lock can be opened with the tap of a smartphone, which is importantfor Graham, who travels frequently.
The apartment provides just enough support for an ascetic lifestyle, one that Graham feels has become more mainstream in recent years.
“Whether it’s incessant emails, texts, or social media updates, our overly packed schedules or the many hundreds of things we own, life can be overwhelming,” he observes. “I believe we intuitively desire simpler lives filled with high-quality experiences, relationships, and possessions.”
Of his housing preferences in general, Graham draws many parallels with his life. “I see both as ongoing experiments, subject to iterative design. I try my best to make constant improvements. On the flipside, I try to remove, or ‘edit,’ the things that detract from my happiness and goals.”