Launch of YO! Home at 100% Design

All the world’s a stage – or at least it could be, according to Simon Woodroffe, creator of YO! Sushi and Yotel – and originator of a novel new purpose-built home of the future.

His 800 square foot flat utilizes the mechanics of stage scenery to do all sorts of unexpected things. Each shell apartment is configured to maximize space: By way of a false ceiling and a false floor, the apartment shrinks and grows in size at the press of a button.

At the 100% Design interiors trade fair, the show apartment attracted crowds of visitors and press, curious to see how the ingenious technology worked. The show flat was also kitted out with state of the art home furnishings, courtesy of a number of self-interested sponsors.

Mouths fell open in astonishment as the bed disappeared into the ceiling and a whole sitting room, complete with designer sofa and coffee table rose up from out of the floor. Woodroffe deftly threw a table cloth across the dining table – probably a good idea, as it had previously doubled up as part of the floor.

A kitchen emerged from behind a wall of cupboards – and the desk transformed into a spare bed for visitors, who could enjoy a sunken bath… if they could find it underneath the shower (see above top).

“You can decorate it like a a Gucci home, a Philippe Starck home, or a country cottage, but it’s always going to be a YO! Home,” said Woodroffe, who clearly has plans to revolutionize the housing market for everyone – not just the policemen, teachers and students he mentions in his presentation.

My only concern is the prediction of future energy shortages. A YO! Home wouldn’t be the ideal place to live in the event of a power cut. And with so many possibilities of mechanical failure, just imagine the scenarios…

A version of this post appeared in Curious Trends at

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About Author Profile: Susan Muncey

Trend consultant Susan Muncey, is Editor of Visuology Magazine. In 2008, she founded online curiosity shop, She writes on style and trends for several blogs, including, and The Dabbler. She previously owned cult West London boutique, Fashion Gallery, one of the first concept stores in the world. Susan graduated in geography from Cambridge University and is also an Associate Member of the CFA Institute. She lives in London with her husband.

10 thoughts on “Launch of YO! Home at 100% Design

    September 22, 2012 at 10:48

    That is really cool. You could pretend to be Austin Powers.

    The trouble with these things though is that you need to be a very tidy sort of person to make it work (and I’m not).

    September 22, 2012 at 13:47

    It seems to me that malfunction of a Murphy bed (the ones that fold up into the walls) was once a staple of American comedy. I may be extrapolating too far from a skit on the Carol Burnett show and a few imperfectly remembered cartoons.

    800 square feet is not that small as apartments go. The building a few blocks from here has studios at 450, one-bedrooms at 700 to 750, and two-bedrooms at 800 square feet. I guess I could ask folks at the bus stop whether their tables rise out of the floor, but it would get me some strange looks.

    And I can’t help wondering whether the matriarch of the household will be known as YO! Mama.

    September 22, 2012 at 14:21

    Ah, the space age house, favourite of sixties news reports from daily mail sponsored home shows at earls court. Surprising really that apart from the teas maid and microwave, hardly any ‘labour saving’ devices have entered the modern home at all

    • Gaw
      September 23, 2012 at 17:40

      A friend of mine pointed out that the home is so incredibly well-evolved it’s difficult to come up with anything that’s both new and useful.

    September 22, 2012 at 16:05

    Brit, I’m trying to remember where I saw an article featuring photos of residents in an apartment block in China. They all lived in one tiny room. Each room was very different. Some completely cluttered and others almost empty apart from a bed and an electric fan. There was little evidence of sophisticated gadgetry.

    However, I wonder, George, if this inventive 330 square foot apartment in Hong Kong is what inspired Mr W (YO! Papa?)

    Yes, funny that, Worm. Does anyone have one of those robot floor cleaning devices? Do they actually work?

    September 22, 2012 at 16:13

    …or a robotic lawnmower? My lawn would be perfect for one

    September 22, 2012 at 18:31

    The interviewer seemed to be having great difficulty holding a straight face, Matt Frei, being a stout Essen lad, added gravitas.
    I see from fancy pants web site that he seed finances new brands, in other words he franchises, finds patsies who will cough up their life savings and work like slaves, the franchiser taking the reward with none of the responsibly. Hey ho, mustn’t grumble.

    Would you really have anything by that plonker Starck in the house, I mean really. Have you heard the bugger speak?

    Don’t tell frau m I said that. As she exracted two of his chairs from the boot one day she firmly stated “a good investment”, sitting on a Starck chair requires Om Mani Padme Hum intoning constantly, helps dull the pain or as junior once said “like crossing into la quarta dimensione”

      September 23, 2012 at 16:27

      Another prize comment, malty! It’s crucial for sales to ave zee voice of zee deezigner

    • Gaw
      September 23, 2012 at 17:38

      I own his lemon squeezer (long-legged, insectoid-looking, metallic). It doesn’t work.

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