You could definitely say ‘I’m in’ when you walk inside Simon Woodroffe’s new apartment. The former Dragons’ Den star and creator of Yo! Sushi, has come up with a novel design that saves space, as hidden rooms appear at the touch of a button. Taking his inspiration from Japanese living and theatre set design, Woodroffe has created an apartment where the bedroom is suspended in the ceiling and descends from the roof at bedtime, and a sunken living area.
It puts a whole new spin on ‘compact and bijoux’. The hidden rooms appear if you touch a button or press against a wall and are operated via 12 mechanical moving parts. It allows four separate rooms to be placed within one and means that you can get four 80sq m rooms into one single 80sq m apartment.
The design is set to shake up the property market as typically smaller flats and apartments in city centres could get a make over. Woodroffe’s show flat includes a master bedroom suite, second bedroom, a sunken sitting room, cinema, dining room, office, full-size kitchen, breakfast room, bathroom, party room and even a wine cellar. The YO! Home prototype is the culmination of seven years of design and development. The 60 year old entrepreneur said: “I think homes help shape our lives. They are our refuge, and our rock. Since the invention of the city centre apartment, we’ve never really re-invented it. YO! Home is that new invention.”
Woodroffe, who resides not in an apartment but in a luxury boat on the Thames added: “Twelve moving parts draw on a wealth of engineering technology taken from fields as diverse as yacht and automotive design and the mechanics of stage production, allowing the transformation of an 80 sq/m space into a much bigger home. The technologies we have used are already established in car design, super-yachts and theatre, their application in the home is long overdue.”
Mr Woodroffe, who used to work as a rock show stage designer, took inspiration from the way experts manage stage mechanics on West End musical shows and by the principles of Japanese living, where the simple and adaptable layout of traditional rooms allows many activities to take place in the same space. He added: “The time-honoured architecture of the stage brings with it the basic principles of counter-weights and moving parts, allowing safe, easy and low-energy movement of large elements such as the bed and wall.”
Woodroffe also took inspiration from the technologies of yacht and automotive design as well as the mechanics of stage production and adapted them for the home: “More high-tech elements, such as sensors and electronics, will make the concept easy to use and family-proof.”
As for price, he is so far refusing to reveal a price for a YO! Home, saying each is dependent on the individual design. But the businessman, who appeared on the first series of Dragons’ Den, does not want it to be so expensive that customers could instead just buy a larger home.