There seems to be ever growing interest in Small Living these days. Whether it’s due to pure necessity for tiny apartment dwellers and mobile home owners, a desire to live more sustainably, or for spiritual and health reasons; simple living is a distinct lifestyle.
As many people search for ways to de-stress, de-clutter (mentally & physically) and move away from materialism they begin to practice mindful consumption.
Mindful Consumption: where you have everything you need and nothing you don’t. Mindful consumption restores balance in everyday life leading to less stress and better overall health.
For many Americans, the biggest turn-off from small-space living is the kitchen, or lack thereof. Fortunately, GE Appliances has chosen to tackle this challenge by creating “micro-kitchen concepts that help people maintain or enhance their lifestyle in substantially less square footage.”
GE designers created the monoblock, a fully customizable standalone unit with cooking, cleaning, and refrigeration in a single standalone six-foot enclosure. It’s designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding cabinetry, and is controlled by a digital panel integrated into the countertop edge.
The monoblock was recently shown at Dwell on Design in LA with a price tag of $15,000.
A second concept presented by GE is a 24″ wide modular drawer system designed to give homeowners more freedom is selecting the appliances and components they need. All traditional kitchen appliances, including a microwave oven, conventional oven, convertible refrigerator and freezer, and dishwasher are drawer-based. The cooktop and downdraft system also are based on the 24″ modules. These units come ready to accept custom panels to fit any decor style.
I saw the prototypes for the micro-kitchen when I was in Louisville at the Monogram Experience Center last fall. I wasn’t allowed to talk about it then but I’m happy to say I was really thrilled to see such forward thinking from GE.
These units of course don’t have to be limited to kitchens, they would be perfect for company break rooms, master suites and bars.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – E.F. Schumacker
GE built their own microfactory production facility on the University of Louisville (UofL) Belknap Campus, called FirstBuild that will allow them to produce their micro-kitchen concept in late 2014.
UofL, which owns the building where FirstBuild will be housed, will be much more involved than a typical landlord. UofL and GE Appliances have plans to create an Advanced Manufacturing hub where students can conduct research while getting practical training on the latest additive manufacturing and technologies in the micro-factory setting.
More than just a factory, with the launch of FirstBuild.com, GE has created a global community dedicated to conceiving, engineering and building the next generation of major appliances.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993