Design trends: Expanding/ Fold-out balcony designs

Bloomframe

The trend

For anyone who has ever seen one of those whacked out home makeover shows on TV and wanted desperately to have a design “intervention” in their homes as well but just didn’t have the resources to pull something like that off, there is still some hope in the instant home makeover market that is taking the interior design industry by storm.Taking a cue from the logic behind convertible furniture like the pull-out sofa-cum-bed, the segmented modular couches, and the bed-in-a-closet inventions etc., Dutch architect Hoffman du Jardin has come up with an aftermarket balcony that can make a welcome designer addition to your home.

Christened the Bloomframe, the balcony basically works like the roof of a convertible car. Its fitted into a wall opening like a glass window but when you need to use it as a balcony, you can simply push a button, and voila! You have an instant balcony that is both petite and sturdy enough to hold you, a few friends and a few items of furniture as well.

The inspiration

Although it would seem like a much better idea to simply have a “real” balcony built if you a fan of those, but for people who live in rented/leased housing getting such a construction done is simply out of the question. But since having a new window put into place into an existing opening is not exactly hardcore construction, the Bloomframe becomes an instant solution to the problem.

Targeted at people who live in smaller urban apartments that are cramped for space, the fold out balcony allows people to renovate and retrofit older building with an instant balcony that can also be transformed into a large window when not needed.

What makes it so special

As outlandish as the idea may appear to the more traditional apartment renters, the Bloomframe balcony is a welcome new addition to the growing range of modular lifestyle products that can be put up with what we can only imagine is a lesser price to pay than having a “real” balcony constructed. What makes it even more special is the fact that that it allows users the option of creating a flexible home environment that can be adjusted to suit changing weather and light conditions.

What’s in it for me

The Bloomframe balcony is a fully automated system that lets users transform their living space quite dynamically with a simple push of the button. By simply having a balcony fold out from a window opening, user can enjoy a small outdoor space that can serve as a mini extension to any above ground floor. The balcony brings the outside in for spaces like apartments, hotels and offices in inner city areas that cannot have a full-on balcony due to building restrictions or other legal concerns. The fold out balcony also allows users to get a nice street view in their apartments when closed and a closer look at the surroundings when opened.

What’s next

Hammokum from G10 Industrial Design is an innovative hammock

The Hammokum from G10 Industrial Design is something of a predecessor for the Bloomframe although it is much, much more thrill-inspiring than the fold out balcony. Created especially for low-on-space Amsterdammers, the Hammokum is basically a hammock that can be suspended outside one’s windows to create a hang-out (literally) space. With safety belt and ropes, the Hammokum allows users to chill right outside their windows if they are craving some outdoor air but don’t have a balcony or terrace to call their own.

Metromorph car morphs into an elevator and balcony for home

At the other end of the line from the Bloomframe and the Hammokum are concepts like the Peugeot Metromorph Car from designer Roman Mistiuk that takes us far into the future where people will be so cramped for space that they would have to get a sci-fi worthy flying car that can turn into an elevator as well as an attachable balcony for their multi-storey apartment buildings. The concept is quite interesting in itself, but doesn’t really provide any competition to the outstanding and contemporary products that we talked about above. Though it does make a strong case for itself as an attachable balcony, we don’t think we can wait for hover-and-lift technologies to evolve and find their way into urban cars before we can get them and turn them into plug-n-play balconies for our high-rise apartment buildings!

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