Dezeen Magazine

A shared laundry room in The Student Hotel Florence Lavagnini

Seven clever co-living projects featured in All Together Now book

"Co-space is here to stay," says Dezeen editor-at-large Amy Frearson, who has co-authored a design guide to shared living spaces called All Together Now. Here she selects seven of the most inventive projects from the book.

All Together Now was written by Frearson in collaboration with interior designer Naomi Cleaver for RIBA Books to document the trend of co-living and co-working spaces.

From multi-generational housing to alternative models of student living, it features detailed case studies of all shapes and sizes, alongside practical tips for designers.

All Together Now book cover
Above: All Together Now is a book about co-living and co-working. Top: among the featured projects is The Student Hotel Florence Lavagnini

Frearson hopes the book will demonstrate how co-living and co-working spaces are "not just for millennials" and that they can offer benefits to people of all ages and backgrounds.

"Co-living offers very real solutions to problems that many of us face today, from rising property prices to chronic loneliness," she explained.

"Sharing our living spaces doesn't have to mean compromising privacy, comfort or possessions; it can actually offer us greater choice and flexibility, allowing us to live more efficiently, healthily and sustainably."

Frearson added that the theme of the book is more pertinent than ever in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many people to stay at home and work remotely, resulting in a greater demand for physical togetherness.

"I believe that shared spaces have the power to transform the way we live together in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic," she concluded.

"As the definitions of 'home' and 'workplace' become increasingly blurred, there is unprecedented demand for spaces where people can come together to share experiences and resources," Frearson added.

"Co-space is here to stay; now is the time to define how we design for it."

Read on for Frearson's top seven co-living projects from the book:

A colourful bedroom in The Student Hotel Florence Lavagnini

The Student Hotel Florence Lavagnini by Archea Associati and Rizoma Architetture, Italy

"This is a model for the future of student living. By allowing student housing buildings to double as hotels, The Student Hotel can offer students high-quality living spaces and flexible contracts.

"Not only does it make the model more affordable, it creates vibrant communal spaces where students, tourists and locals come together."

A modular sofa that doubles as a desk

Flatmates by Wilmotte & Associés and Cutwork, France

"This project explores new furniture typologies that are better suited to communal living. Examples include a modular sofa made up of nine different elements, which can be combined in different ways to suit different activities.

"These elements can be arranged like a traditional soda and armchairs, but they can also be organised into islands, to accommodate different activities taking place simultaneously."

A shared space in the Italian Building of Mason & Fifth
Photo is by Nicolas Worley

Italian Building by Stiff + Trevillion and Studio Clement, UK

"This project shows how a co-living community can be built around a particular lifestyle. At the Italian Building, run by co-living operator Mason & Fifth, spaces are designed and programmed around wellness.

"Occupants come together for fitness classes and healthy meals, and their environment is designed with the same ethos."

A co-living space with a large dining table

LifeX Classen by LifeX, Denmark

"LifeX has taken the flat-share to new heights. Residents are able to live in beautifully furnished flats without any of the hassle of buying furniture, finding roommates or signing up to long-term contracts.

"As the company has properties in various cities around Europe, residents can even organise swaps with other residents, allowing them to travel without the stress of organising accommodation."

A multi-generational house in Amsterdam
Photo is by Ossip van Duivenbode

Three-Generation House by BETA, Netherlands

"The multi-generational house doesn't get much more clever than this. This five-storey home is designed in a way that allows it to cleverly change configuration as its occupants needs change over time.

"It is currently divided into two residences – one for a couple and their children, and the other for their parents – but it could easily be turned into a single house, or further subdivided."

Residents of the Humanitas Deventer in the Netherlands
Photo is by Sander van Wettum

Humanitas Deventer, Netherlands

"One of the most inspiring examples of multi-generational living, this care home in the Netherlands offers free accommodation to students.

"In exchange, it asks them to spend a dedicated amount of time every week with the elderly residents. This creates a mutually beneficial setup where different generations are able to support one another and learn from each other's experiences."

A shared work space in Mokrin House
Photo is by Relja Ivanic

Mokrin House by Autori, Serbia

"Thanks to changes in technology, we can now live and work anywhere, hence the arrival of digital nomad culture. Mokrin House shows how this new culture can inject life into areas that were otherwise in social and economic decline.

"Set up as a live/work retreat, it also offers facilities to locals as well as paying visitors."