Barcode Room: The Optimus Prime of apartments


December 7, 2012

Barcode Room from Studio_01 offers a transformable apartment concept which adapts to the needs of its residents

Barcode Room from Studio_01 offers a transformable apartment concept which adapts to the needs of its residents

Image Gallery (12 images)

People living in cities are increasingly being squeezed into smaller and smaller apartments, a reality that is driving a search for new living space designs that can adapt, transform, and evolve as the needs of those residing in them dictate. Barcode Room from Japanese design company Studio_01 is an attempt at doing just that. At present it's nothing more than a concept, but Barcode Room could prove to be a good strategy for maximizing space while also tending to the needs of multiple residents.

The basis of Barcode Room is a set of three sliding walls (or bars) that can be moved around to form multiple configurations. By moving the walls into different positions, residents can customize the space to suit their particular needs at any particular time.

The 12 different components that make up the walls of Barcode Room

There are 12 types of walls, with the three chosen by and for the residents dictating the configurations available to them. The walls are attached to a ceiling rail and mounted on wheels, which means they can not only be installed in new apartments but in existing apartments as well.

Both the storage and furniture components are actually slotted into the walls, ready to be taken out and used as needed. When the storage and furniture aren't being used at all, this system frees up living space, allowing for a blank canvas without the detritus associated with inner-city living. Essentially all the components needed to live are present, but presented in a way which means they don't dominate the apartment.

Barcode Room recently won the Grand Prix at Tokyo Designer's Week 2012. Studio_01 is committed to continuing work on Barcode Room, with plans to develop additional bars, and components within the bars. As well as the obvious potential in residential locales, Studio_01 sees potential for the Barcode Room to be used in other spaces such as offices, galleries, and restaurants.

The Studio_01 video below shows some of the transforming systems in operation.

Source: Studio_01 via Treehugger

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix. All articles by Dave Parrack

I wish I had the money to invest on that business/idea... cumulate that concept with shipping containers and you have affordable housing. Get the earlier contract of the article a little before "City authorities turn to shipping containers to combat homelessness" and then you have a better world for all....


I fail to see the noble, heroic sentience that makes this worth comparing to the greatest of the Autobot warriors.

C. Walker Walker

So mainly it's all about turning walls into storage space of different configuration? Would it not be easier (albeit less stylish) to just make closets on wheels so that they can be shuffled around?

If I have to try to make a stylish concept, I would make the floor fold out into tables/cabinets/beds. Then there wouldn't be these pseudo walls everywhere, and the room would be a lot wider.

Savin Wangtal

Ummmm...nothing I couldn't do with a few simple power tools, a few sheets of plywood and a catalog. Not seeing much innovation. Sorry, try again.


I think perhaps this was the source of the idea?: (older, but still more sophisticated and futuristic design - and 24 "rooms").

Dvorák Bence


the problem here is not that you couldn't do it now someone has brought up the idea and showed you how to, it's that you just didn't have the idea, and the fact that you just didn't do it. Why can people just not appreciate the value of ideas?


I like the idea. It seems that it might have been inspired by those movable storage / file shelves one sees in some offices.


Unsafe for earthquake zones.


This is amazing! I really love your concept about this cabinets! But I think this will cost quite much. But I really love it, not only a space saver, but it adds uniqueness to the whole house.

Mortisha Brown
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