Heard of micro -apartments, just 200 to 300 sq ft? Globally these miniature spaces are in demand where land spaces reign too high, says Nandhini Sundar

The concept of micro-apartments, with the size of a unit anywhere between 200 sq.ft and 300 sq.ft, is becoming popular in unlikely cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Seattle and New York. So far, this concept was common in Asian cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong known for high land prices.

Typically, these micro-apartments are large enough to accommodate sleeping sections and dining and living rooms with some having a tiny kitchen counter. The furnishings here are designed to be folded when not in use so as to release space in the tiny apartment.

While some come with refrigerators and microwave ovens, along with bedding and seating in their furnished state, quite a number are supported by a common group kitchen to make up for lack of space. The idea is to offer space to a single working person or students who are not looking for ample living area but an affordable space in the heart of town with good connectivity and infrastructure.

Given the crowding of the metros and spiralling land prices in India, how popular would this concept be here? Would Indian lifestyle afford such stylish fully furnished yet micro spaces? Or would the mindset be to opt for something larger and affordable even if it is further away from the city centre?

Mumbai already experiences a lifestyle of micro homes among a large majority who can ill afford large spaces. Yet, these spaces are not luxury apartments but sized down to cater to middle or lower income groups with hardly any décor to speak of.

But how about the city of Bangalore? Could this be a future option with growing immigrant population and young working IT crowd?

Architect Karan Shetty of Third Eye Design Studio says, “There is no well-defined CBD in Bangalore as each locality has its own commercial centre. Besides, the lifestyle is one of relaxed space, independent villas. Residents do not mind travelling to experience this lifestyle on returning home. Unlike Mumbai which is used to smaller domains, Bangalore is unlikely to find a large market for micro apartments at least for another five years.”

Architect and Director AQB Group, Arjun Raja, who had received a good response for his studio apartment project recently, says, “For micro-apartments to find a market it requires a change in lifestyle, not just prevalence of space constraint. The psychology of the residents here is to entertain, opt for larger spaces for which they are willing to commute. Besides, infrastructure support is required where it affords residents to merely come back into the apartments to rest and not relax the whole day.”

Mr. Raja further adds that while investors would need to be convinced about the presence of a market for this concept to take root, the same is more likely to find good reception in a city like Mumbai where the size of an average apartment is already very small.