Gareth and Azin McLeish met in high school, and throughout their time together, they shifted house and lived in a number of small flats. Through this experience, they learnt two things; it was almost impossible to find quality stylish furniture that didn’t crowd their space, and it was an absolute nightmare trying to shift furniture around tight spaces and up tight stairwells and small lifts. While on holiday in Italy, they visited the Salone del Mobile and saw clever modular and transforming European design solutions on display. The couple knew they had to bring these to Australasia, so they founded the company FIFO where they sell transforming multi-functional furniture designed for small spaces.
The couple believes that down-sizing and small homes are a growing trend in New Zealand:
“Over the past few years with the housing shortage, urbanisation, planning changes, and aging baby boomer population, we’ve seen an increase in and uptake in high density or multi-unit homes in New Zealand. The growth of apartments, townhouses, flats and units, and retirement village units have in recent years outpaced that of stand-alone houses. Recently, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced the release of the Climate Change Commission’s carbon-cutting blueprint, which has recommended denser city planning. Greater intensification of housing looks to be the way of the future for New Zealand,” says Azin McLeish.
Azin’s personal favourite piece is this Mirror Man by Gervasoni that doubles as functional wall art. Its eye-catching and fun shape makes a statement in any space. As well as providing a strong design impact, it offers plenty of discrete offthe-floor storage space. As it’s also a large format mirror, it will bounce light around the room and create the illusion of spaciousness.
The Tavoletto coffee table is Gareth’s favourite design. Constructed with a hydraulic metal lifting frame and hidden wheels at the base, this table raises with millimetre adjustment from a Tatami table to a coffee table or a two-person dining table with one slide of a lever. However, its real hidden talent lies underneath the tabletop, which separates from the centre and slides out, revealing a comfortable single wooden slat bed!
Sakura Adachi has created this multi-functional and space-saving solution that fulfills everyday activities in small environments. Trick by Campeggi is a bookcase and console that turns into a table with two chairs by simply pulling out either side of the unit. The console can be used as a desk or a computer table for your study, office, lounge, or bedroom.
The clever and minimalist nightstand LC 47 Lamp Nightstand by Gervasoni doubles as a floor lamp.
The Helios by Altacom is a round coffee table that lifts and extends out from the center into a 1.65 metre dining table. The gas lifting mechanism allows the Helios to smoothly transition in height between 36 to 75 centimetres. Wheels have discretely been built into the base of the Helios’ solid metal frame allowing the table to be moved effortlessly at any height.
This modest clothes hanger by Gervasoni provides the functionality of a traditional hanger in a modern form that will add unique style and elegance to any space.
Oblò by Campeggi is a sofa that can be converted to a chaise longue, as well as a comfortable single or double bed.
The Gray 45 side table by Gervasoni is an elegantly subtle round nightstand with a drawer, perfect for those necessities.
Trek by Altacom’s versatility lies in its ability to transform from a wall console to a large dining table. This is made possible thanks to a cleverly integrated extending mechanism hidden within the tabletop. Trek allows you to entertain guests or transform your space into an office or workshop with ease. Extending metal legs are located in the middle of the tabletop to enhance Trek’s stability and provide a solid dining table. There are three lengths to choose from, as well as a tripod that holds spare dining table panels while they are not in use.
A compact and timeless sofa, the Giravolta transforms in both shape and functionality with minimal adjustment. Giulio Manzoni’s design converts from a sofa into a chaise longue or single bed by sliding the seats 90˚.