Three nights in MOVEment by Jan Paulich

«The MOVEment prototype is so close to reality you could see what it's like to live there,» they'd said, jokingly. «Why not? It'd be cool,» I'd quipped. So, I suppose I had only myself to blame. Before I knew it, I was a guinea pig, stuck inside a futuristic-looking apartment with a group of sliding modules.

In the future, single-person households will dominate the housing profile in Switzerland. Today, they already account for a third of all Swiss households, and the trend is upward. To cope with the demand, Halter has developed an innovative concept living called MOVEment, based on an idea by architect Angelo Roventa. The following video provides an impressive demonstration of how the modular room concept can transform a studio flat into a two-room apartment. The first MOVEment apartments will be an integral part of The Jay project in Adliswil and ready for occupation in autumn 2019. Several hundred more flats are planned throughout Switzerland, for example in the Claraturm on Basel's Messeplatz.

An experiment in living with heart and soul

And that's how they look: the MOVEment prototype and the guinea pig.

It was clear to me from the start that I'd need to spend a certain time in the prototype, otherwise, the experiment wouldn't provide me with much reliable information. The deal, then, was four days and three nights, Monday to Thursday. So, on Monday afternoon I turned up with my tightly packed rucksack at Pfingstweidstrasse 106 in Zurich, ready to move into my temporary abode. Halter's affiliate, Raumgleiter AG, which is headquartered here, had kindly provided us with the necessary space to build an actual-size prototype.

A click, and the bed floats through the room

As soon as I arrived, I noticed that, apart from its realistic dimensions, the apartment offered everything else that makes MOVEment so unusual: the sliding modules, including a bed, a generously sized bathroom, a state-of-the-art kitchen and various light sources. The modules and lights are conveniently controlled by buttons on a small touchscreen in the entrance. Of course, I could hardly wait to try out these technical features, and before I knew it, I was bang in the middle of the experiment.

Even in the prototype, the modules slid almost flawlessly. I was fascinated.

To make my limited time in the prototype as effective as possible, I'd planned several scenarios. My first night in the flat was followed by a day in the home office. I started by taking a shower in the office bathroom at Raumgleiter. That's because the one thing the prototype didn't have was running water. Otherwise, my day at the office in MOVEment was all very pleasant. I tried out working on the dining table as well as the fold-out work surface on one of the modules, both of which went very well. But because I usually work on the dining or kitchen table in my real home, I had a slight preference for it here, too. The positioning of the elements for work mode, on the other hand, proved to be highly practical because I was able to reach the existentially crucial coffee machine in the kitchen at any time.

No space shortage, even with visitors

At the end of the working day, the experiment included a new scenario: a visit from my (real) girlfriend. Even if the lack of running water meant I had to improvise slightly with our drinks, the constellation «guests» offered enough room to enjoy prosecco from the can in cosy surroundings. At the end of the day, MOVEment's sleeping mode allowed us to push the bed further into the centre of the apartment, providing access to the mattress from both sides and ample space, even for two.

Cheers to an overnight adventure in the provisional MOVEment apartment.

To sum up: Why not?

The last two days of the experiment seemed to fly by. Among other things, it was because by now I had got used to MOVEment's functionality and could move effortlessly from one room or light constellation to another. And, finally, I was able to pass on the benefit of my own findings and experience to the people in charge of the project at Zühlke, whose expertise Halter drew on during the technical development of the product. Finally, I was asked whether I could imagine living in a MOVEment home at some time in the future. Assuming, for example, that I had to move temporarily to another town or city for business reasons: no question about it! Not only – but particularly – in a case like this, the modern, flexible concept with its extensive range of essential amenities seemed very attractive.

Cover image: Visualization by Raumgleiter AG