Think Tank Partners posted on Jan 8, 2020
Cutwork: Design solutions to build a better future for communities
To kick-off our 2020 Think Tank Partners, we present Cutwork. The multi-faceted studio, co-founded by Antonin Yuji Maeno and Kelsea Crawford, draws inspiration from cities we live in and the space between inhabitants. Cutwork is an award-winning team of architects, designers, engineers, and researchers, who devise innovative solutions surrounding the interactions and usages of space. Coliving and Coworking are among their solutions and together they design architectural concepts, interior spaces, and furniture for pioneering companies who reimagine how space is shared.
Cutwork believes that architects and designers need to shift perspectives on how to conceive and build space differently. As a result, sustainability, cohabitation, technology and urban development are among their main priorities on which they put their creative (and aesthetically satisfying) spin. SALTO KS was lucky enough to have the studio elaborate on their values and vision for the future. Read on to find out more about Cutwork and their forward-thinking design solutions for better communities.
On your (amazing) website you make the statement 'Together has changed.' Could you please elaborate on what this means?
Thanks so much! Yes, so as architects and designers we recognized more and more how our cities were built for a world that no longer fits with the ways people live and work today. We’ve seen a huge rise in lifestyles that are defined by independence, mobility, collaboration, decentralized networks, community, and sharing—yet our spaces and furniture have gone largely unchanged, stuck in outdated models of life.
The more we researched, the more we understood not only how fundamental these changes were, but how essential even more radical change will be to overcome some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century: How do we sustainably accommodate 1.2 billion more people on the planet by 2030? How do we avert a housing crisis when 70% of the world population is crowding into cities, driving even higher rental costs? How can architecture and design help overcome the current epidemic of loneliness and help build better communities?
Cutwork was founded to design spaces and innovative solutions to help overcome these challenges. To us, shared space is essential. Hence, our focus is not just on designing for how lifestyle has changed, or how work has changed, but for how ‘Together has changed.’
What motivated you to design for coliving and coworking spaces?
Coliving and coworking are emerging as two of the most promising solutions to help overcome these incredible challenges. We believe the future is built on shared space. Not only do they have awesome economic, environmentally sustainable, and community constructive potential, but more broadly, coliving and coworking are on track to be the most disruptive things to happen to real estate since the modern office tower and apartment block.
As architects and designers, this is a really exciting domain to work within. These kinds of shared spaces are largely uncharted territories. The norms and typologies of these spaces haven’t been highly defined yet, so there is a lot of room to innovate and design unconventional solutions that support these communities in more specialized and impactful ways.
Your studio determines the way people work and live in the coworking and coliving scenes respectively by designing the spaces and furniture. In what way has the relationship we have with working and living changed since you started out?
Work is becoming more and more decentralized but increasingly networked. We’ve had a close eye on how technology and access of knowledge continue to empower the rise of freelancers. In reaction to this explosive growth, the number of global coworking spaces has doubled since we’ve started. One of the key results we’ve seen from this wild competition is that spaces are differentiating themselves more and more specifically. In this regard, freelancers, startups, and remote workers have more options than ever to pick a space that fits and fulfils their own specialized needs. Thus, from the growing diversity of workspaces, work is getting easier and enabling success for this workforce.
In regards to changes to the ways we live, since we’ve started, we’ve seen coliving grow from a niche, self-organizing idea to it becoming a commodified service and lifestyle choice for millennials and the younger generations. Although it is only just emerging as a market, it is gaining momentum quickly. Coliving spaces will inevitably need to differentiate themselves from this incoming competition, and the range of options people will be able to choose from; supporting particular kinds of communities, or appealing to specific lifestyles—will only become more diverse and pronounced as well.
Are there a lot of requests for the implementation of technology in space design for coworking and coliving?
Yes! Technology is only becoming more and more integrated into our behaviours, decision-making process, navigation of space, and moment-to-moment lives. This is a common request and increasing necessity for players in the coworking and coliving markets, especially when it comes to using everything they can to help build their communities and integrating seamless interactions and usages of space.
What is your hope and vision for the future of coworking and coliving? Do you see SALTO KS in that future?
At this stage, coliving is still in its infancy—more of an experimental way to live and a market test than a proven scalable model for housing, sustainability, and urban development. Our work (and hope) is dedicated to designing these spaces in ways that will help unlock the full potential of this movement and enable it to become a primary model of housing in the years ahead.
In the long-term, we envision fully integrated inter-generational cohabitation spaces that maintain a careful balance between healthy, stable communities and relationships, but that is elastic enough to enable mobility and circulation of perspectives and chance encounters.
What are your plans for the next couple of years? How will you expand, changing the way we live and work even more?
Right now, we are focused on several shared space projects, scaling our team, and conducting one of the first Global Coliving Surveys to measure the impact coliving has on individuals, communities, and society. All current surveys are studying real estate finance and market competition, so we are going right to the source to give a voice to residents and understand what’s driving this movement. Our aim with the report is to advance the discussion around coliving and empower founders, thought leaders, legislators, and community builders to unlock greater potential of the movement. It’s exciting times, to say the least!
Thank you, Cutwork Studio for collaborating with us on this edition of our Think Tank Partner series and we look forward to what the future of design in space has in store!
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