By Forrest Smith -

Furniture should play a larger role in homes. It has, for perhap’s it’s entire history, been relegated to being isolated objects to fill our empty living areas, utilized for creating places to sit, store things, to hold other pieces of furniture. It has been used to fill space, when in fact it should be used to make space.

I sift through dozen’s of apartment floor plans, envisioning myself filling the spaces. There seems to always be something wrong, something that splits and shatters the view of myself inhabiting a space. Generally it’s a wall. We are dictated in how we live — fragmented existences determined by the simple act of placing two lines on a sheet of paper (or more recently within a computer), signalling to those building the space to put in a wall. Usually when I inhabit that space, I want that wall six inches to the left, or five feet. Or not at all.

Yet I’m stuck with it, contorting my existence to conform to its existence.

Furniture can provide a much better means of partitioning off uses. Let the inhabitant decide how best to use the places that they inhabit. I want totally blank. No walls, no fixed cabinets, no fixed countertops. I want to rent or buy a blank canvas. I want to move in walls and place them where I see fit with as little attachment to the permanent as necessary.

I want to select from a catalogue of furniture. Cases used to make walls, but also utilized for other purposes. Bookshelves, cabinets, beds that slide into, or fold up into the cabinet, kitchen cabinetry, refrigerators, ovens. Maybe some are just planes that act strictly as walls. Everything movable, reconfigurable.

There would be many advantages to this approach. We would produce less waste — remodels would require only moving in different pieces of furniture, not tearing out walls and smashing drywall with sledgehammers. Energy consumption could also be less, with people being able to more fully utilize less space, and reconfigure it over time. We could also be happier — dictating how we live within our homes, instead of conforming to them.