A few weeks ago, President Obama's speech to a joint session of congress highlighted some sobering facts about the state of the good old U.S.A.: we're in hock up to our eyeballs, still importing billions of gallons of the gooey black stuff, and smack in the midst of the biggest economic contraction we've seen since 1929.
Lollipop Hide Away Bunk Bed System. Manufactured by Clei.
At this point, "hope," might look like a hard sell, but the President's strides toward energy independence are encouraging, and I, for one, find it refreshing to hear a President talk of "carbon trading caps" and "retro-fitted construction." But amid all the hub-bub surrounding our fossil-fuel guzzling system of transport, let us not forget-as Ron Barth, President of NYC's Resource Furniture, is quick to point out-that construction, and its concomitant demands of heating and cooling, "create more pollution than all of transportation combined."
I mention Barth not only because he makes an ever-so salient point, but also because he's an outspoken advocate of Italian manufacturer Clei's "Space Savers"-a collection of supremely functional, "now you see it, now you don't" disappearing beds. Barth has a way with words: he gives a concise summary of the history of the archaic "murphy bed" and introduces us to the innovation that is Space Savers in one fell swoop: "Formerly known as 'wall beds' or 'transformable beds,' these are tenth-generation systems furnishings that completely change the way a family can live, particularly in a city like New York."
No small claim, but Space Savers delivers on all fronts. This collection of hide-away beds-each cleverly integrated with modular closets, shelves, desks, or sofas-is innovation personified. Not only is every model a real, grown-up, usable bed (they feature a steel frame and a beech wood slatted support system and come with a choice of spring, latex, or memory foam mattress-even the twin bunk-beds support the very adult weight of 330 lbs.), but also eminently convenient. This means no annoying disassembling of shelves or removal of knick-knacks, no disruptive re-arranging of furniture, and zero loss of space. Clei even has a model that allows you to bring the bed out atop a full-length desk-without requiring removal of any loose items. "Impossible!" you say? Au contraire-all it takes is some clever levers, some well-positioned hydraulics, and a presto-chango sensibility that prizes the very green value of well-used space.
Lollipop hideaway bunk bed system. Manufactured by Clei.
Doc XL single fold-away sofa and bunk bed unit. Manufactured by Clei.
Cabrio In folding bed with desk. Manufactured by Clei.
Atoll wall bed with corner sofa. Manufactured by Clei.
Take the "Lollipop IN," for instance. This bunk-bed system with fully-integrated ladder folds in and out of a narrow-profile closet at the touch of a finger. Or try "Doc" on for size: in its first incarnation, it's a charming little sofa, but simply lift the seat cushion up a couple of inches and voila!, the entire base of the sofa rotates 180 degrees to morph into a twin bed with 78" mattress. If that doesn't convince you, try the Cabrio IN: this ingenious piece starts as a seven foot work station and-thanks to hydraulics that allow the entire desk to float up a couple of feet-ends as a comfortable twin bed.
Resource Furniture stocks these and several other models (including Atoll, a queen bed that doubles as a handsome sofa), each of which demonstrates a different take on the space-saving gymnastics of the Cabrio. And the price? Starting at two to three thousand for some of the twin models, it's actually quite reasonable. But, as Barth points out, this is really beside the point. A better question might be, "what's the value of halving your carbon footprint?" Or "How much would it cost to double the size of your home?" Any of Clei's innovative, economical, and resource-savvy Space Savers would be an excellent place to start.