It’s not uncommon for you to come across people who are far from happy about the amount of space they have in their homes or apartments. The bedroom is too cramped, the kitchen is too narrow, the living room too small and the study room almost claustrophobic. What would you then say to Mr. Liu who prefers the coziness of his 8-foot Feng Shui cube to the expanse of the 1,100+ square feet loft he lives in?
What seems strange to you, even berserk perhaps, brings intimacy and comfort to Mr Liu – a teacher of Feng Shui and Chinese Medicine in Berkeley, California. This ingeniously designed cube has a study and bedroom on the ground floor and a meditation room and tea room on the top floor. Since the meditation room is quite close to the ceiling of the loft, Mr, Liu has to crawl about and slouch for if he were to stand up, his head would hit the ceiling.
However, this not something that Mr. Liu minds a lot since traditional Japanese tearooms were designed with low ceilings, so that those entering it would feel humble. In addition, the doors of these tearooms were also designed to be small and narrow. This was done to prevent samurai warriors from entering the room with their swords drawn.
So, how and why did he come up with this idea of a cube in the first place? As Mr. Liu explains since his loft is used for both teaching as well as living, he wanted a private space of his own that his visitors wouldn’t peep into. That’s when he thought about organizing his living room with the help of a Feng Shui cube.
The task of designing this cube was handed over to Toshi Kasai, owner of an architecture and design firm, who also happens to be Mr. Liu’s student. For this he charged Mr. Liu only a token fee – not just as a mark of respect for his teacher but also because he “loved the concept of the cube.” After all, it’s not every day that someone approaches him to “design something so outrageous?”
The entire project worked out to $20,000 of which the costliest element was the steel frame. While Mr. Liu wanted to shoji screens on the exterior walls of the cube, Mr. Kasai recommended against it, since it would send the budget skyrocketing by adding another $10,000 to it. Mr. Kasai went on to use simple roller shades, which cost slightly more than $600+. The rest of the project involved adding the plywood and plexi-glass for the walls, installing the woodwork and hidden cabinetry, and connecting the cube to a power source to run the lights and other electrical fixtures.
In addition to its minimalistic functionality of the cube points need to be given to the portability of the cube. It can be taken apart quite easily at which time no part is wider than 3 feet, allowing it to be carried through a standard door. It can also be reassembled with equal ease.
Finally, the best part about the cube is that it’s flexible. Since it has wheels at the base, it can be moved to any part of the loft. It can also be turned around to suit Mr. Liu’s mood. On a bright, sunny day it faces the window when Mr. Liu can catch sight of the hills from the meditation room. At other times, when Mr. Liu has got some work to catch up, he turns the cube to the wall and works undistracted. And at night, when the whole cube is lit up and the shades of the apartment are drawn, it transforms into a magical lantern.