interior design

Art & Design Students Reimagine Micro-Living

by Garrett Fleming

Savannah College of Art & Design consistently trains some of the most talented, ambitious creatives in the country. The school has such a fabulous reputation, I looked into acquiring a Masters in Advertising there myself. Even though I pursued other options, my friends who chose the SCAD route still rave about how divine it was to attend the creatively-focused institution. While I did my due diligence when researching the school, I never knew that their influence extended much further than the Savannah flagship campus in Georgia — the school now has campuses in Hong Kong, France and Atlanta. For the past couple of years, these various outposts have served as design inspiration for the school’s ingenious housing experiment, SCADpad.

It took nearly 40 faculty members and over 70 students to craft these stunning micro-pads, an active study in micro-living conducted by the school. The homes, while very visually interesting, are more of an experiment in urban housing than one in interior design. Christian Sottile, Dean of the School of Building Arts, tells us the creative community was “… designed to be a living laboratory for millennial minds to help them envision how we’ll engage with an urban environment of the future.”

Tracking down the perfect spot to house the “laboratory” was of the utmost importance to Christian and his staff. After a little research, setting up the space in a parking garage on the school’s Atlanta campus seamlessly fit with the experiment’s narrative. The team behind the initiative discovered that there are five parking spots for every one car in the United States alone. Not only that, these 105 million parking spots sit vacant nearly 50% of the time. That’s a lot of wasted space being earmarked for cars — an asset tomorrow’s workforce is ditching in favor of living closer to where they work and play. With a booming population, and less and less space allocated to affordable living, the wasted area was perfect for the micro experiment. The community has since evolved to include not only micro-houses, but also a technology workstation, park, garden and recreation space. Click through to take a look at the fun, inspiring community of 135-square-foot homes that SCAD’s finest envision as the future of urban living. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography courtesy of Savannah College of Art & Design

Source: SCADpad

Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
Eny Parker, Project Manager behind the newly-built SCADpad Asia, designed all of the furniture in her room to be modular so the resident can craft whichever layout works best for them. She then "selected the materials and decor with the aim of creating harmony by balancing opposites." It's this mix of organic and metallic finishes, and hard and soft lines, that truly makes her pad sing. "The space is warm, yet fresh with cooling details," Eny explains. Her pad, which takes inspiration from the school's presence in Hong Kong, is nestled into a parking structure on SCAD's Atlanta campus. It is joined by other pads with themes representing North America and Europe.
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
Eny loves ceramics, so while she utilized the school's network of talented makers to help bring her vision for the room's furniture to life, she chose to craft some of the home's decorations herself.
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
The project taught Eny the importance of communication, how to trust her gut, and also the vitality of a clear vision. The team "... envisioned SCADpad Asia as a haven for an artist who takes inspiration from travel, adventure, and personal discovery," and sticking to that plan kept the construction on schedule.
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
The exterior of SCADpad Asia was crafted by Will Penny, a student whose paintings "often explore 3-D space, employing a gradient painting effect, which he calls gamut relief."
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
These monkey statues outside the North American pad are a clever take on traditional stone gargoyles often seen atop grandiose buildings.
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
The North American pad, designed by Marcus Kenney, reflects the "... quintessentially American spirit of self-determination and (celebrates) SCAD's locations in Savannah and Atlanta." Marcus works primarily in embellished sculpture, and this eye-catching ceiling – a mix of sequins, beads, leather straps, glass, buttons and pins – embodies his layered style. Alum Katherine Sandoz painted the bathroom's landscape scene.
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
The ceiling circles around the room's ventilation system, creating a giant eye in the sky. This purposeful all-seeing eye embodies the pyramid on the dollar bill.
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
"SCADpad Europe was inspired by the medieval landscape..." Trish Andersen's take on the ancient comes to life through the home's travertine-esque planks and storybook-like, copper roof. The illuminated typography is by alum Michael Porten.
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
Forty thousand pieces of fiber fill every foot of Trish and her team's design. She hopes the fibers make those inside feel wrapped up in the home, as if it's loving them back.
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
The European pad's walls and floors are made from rubber and pockets "... which can hold belongings such as flower vases, books and other treasures."
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
In the U.S., the ratio of parking spots to cars is 5 to 1, while affordable housing is almost nonexistent. Knowing that their students are more interested in living and working in an urban setting as opposed to commuting in a car, the school had them transform the empty spots of an Atlanta parking garage into a micro-living community. At the center of the various pads is this large, communal table. Dean of the School of Building Arts, Christian Sottile says the "... giant, white, thought bubble over the table encourages congenial interaction and names the gathering place as a space for ideas."
Art & Design Students Re-Imagine Micro Living, Design*Sponge
When these 1960s-inspired chairs swing, real bubbles begin to float around the relaxing student lounge. This feature injects even more playfulness into the fun space.

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  • So proud of my friends Trish Anderson and Michael Porten for making the SCADpad Europe… I’m not biased (well probably a little) but it’s my favourite.

    pssst….we have a Trish Anderson original teepee in our garden which she made for my kids last summer. I just sat in awe passing her tools (and refreshments) as she whipped up this magical – very beautiful – space out of left over / recup materials.

    Much love!!

  • This is such a great idea! I love that it combines learning opportunities for both art/design and urban planning, giving students a chance to use their creative talents in new and exciting ways!

    I also love this idea because I live in Seattle, and we’re in the middle of a housing crisis ourselves. What little housing exists downtown (where most of the jobs are) is insanely expensive and doesn’t really cater to the young professionals who want to live and work in the same neighborhood!