Living Large in Small Spaces

andrea zittel living unit

For nearly two decades Andrea Zittel has been designing “living units,” which are basically room-sized steamer trunks that fold out to reveal all the necessities of modern life. Not only did she receive the Smithsonian’s Lucelia Artist Award in 2005, but the following year the world-renowned New Museum launched a full-scale retrospective for the artist.

Her work ranges from incredible stainless steel “escape vehicles” to miminalist, Donald Judd-like wooden pieces. Click through to view the collection!

  • A-Z Comfort Unit I 1 of 12
    A-Z Comfort Unit I
    Inspired by her small Brooklyn studio, Zittel designed this unit to allow all the functions of a typical home using limited space. The bed is enclosed in a cabinet with 4 carts to facilitate eating, working, grooming, and one left empty for other uses.
  • A-Z Comfort Unit II 2 of 12
    A-Z Comfort Unit II
    The A-Z Comfort Units were designed for the Cincinnati Art Museum in 1994. They were later auctioned as a pair in 2002 for $88,000.
  • A-Z 1994 Living Unit 3 of 12
    A-Z 1994 Living Unit
    Zittel's skilled crossover between design and art has garnered international acclaim for nearly two decades, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lucelia Artist Award in 2005. Zittel's highly sought-after work commands high prices whenever it surfaces—an A-Z Living Unit was sold at auction for $57,000 in 1999.
  • A-Z 1994 Living Unit 4 of 12
    A-Z 1994 Living Unit
    Even with everything she's managed to include in such a small space, the design retains a minimalist feel.
  • A-Z 1994 Living Unit 5 of 12
    A-Z 1994 Living Unit
    Much like an old steamer trunk, this unit unfolds to reveal all the necessities of modern life. It does this on a much larger scale, however, including things like a bed, lighting fixture, kitchen, and vanity.
  • A-Z 1994 Living Unit 6 of 12
    A-Z 1994 Living Unit
    The unit folds down to the size of a steamer trunk, ready to be reassembled when necessary.
  • A-Z Management Maintenance 7 of 12
    A-Z Management Maintenance
    Designed in 1992, this is Zittel's earliest work of this type.
  • A-Z Escape Vehicle 8 of 12
    A-Z Escape Vehicle
    This design from 1996 plays to the escape fantasies everyone had as a child. What kid wouldn't kill for this?
  • A-Z Escape Vehicle 9 of 12
    A-Z Escape Vehicle
    MoMA acquired an A-Z Escape Vehicle as part of their permanent collection, thought it isn't currently on display.
  • A-Z Escape Vehicle 10 of 12
    A-Z Escape Vehicle
    THe perfect place to escape with a book.
  • A-Z Escape Vehicle 11 of 12
    A-Z Escape Vehicle
    Another version with an interior that functions as a workspace.
  • A-Z 1993 Living Unit 12 of 12
    A-Z 1993 Living Unit
    An earlier version of the A-Z Living Unit.

Visit Andrea Zittel’s website to view more of her work!


Check out other articles by Rachel here!

For more from Rachel, check out her beautifully curated blog: Handmade Charlotte. You can also follow her on Twitter , Facebook and Pinterest!

Other posts you may enjoy:

15 Amazing Cradles Your Baby Won’t Outgrow

• 12 Laundry Rooms to Love

• 8 Tools for Getting Kids To Do Chores


Article Posted 5 years Ago

Videos You May Like