2 Architects + 420 sq. ft. = 1 viral tiny apartment design


When Catalin and Adrian took on the challenge of designing a 420sf apartment space to squeeze in 1000sf of functionality, they had no idea how much of an impact it was going to have. Both on their careers and the “tiny apartment” trend worldwide.

Where it all began

As the cost of living rises and major cities are getting more crowded, people are having to live in smaller spaces. Not only is it a necessity, but for some people it is a way of life they want to pursue. Having minimal possessions and keeping life simple and lean! This may be for financial, environmental or spiritual reasons.

Back in 2010 jovoto ran a Crowdstorm with Treehugger founder, Graham Hill. The Crowdstorm was all about creating a functional living space within a small 420sf (39 square meter) apartment. This would be the first prototype for Graham Hill’s startup “Life Edited” – he would actually be living in the space himself!

Life Edited is a company all about creating spaces and technology to help people live within their means, both financially and environmentally.

As with most jovoto Crowdstorms, it was an open opportunity where architects and designers from all over the world could come together, collaborate, and solve a tough design challenge.

As part of the Crowdstorm, designers had to create a design for the 420sf space which would allow for:

  • a sit-down dinner for 12
  • a comfortable lounging option for 8 people
  • space for 2 sleeping guests with some visual and ideally auditory privacy
  • a home office
  • a work area with space for a rolling tool chest
  • a hideable kitchen

This was a BIG task, but with a prize pool worth over $70,000, and a Jury featuring people like 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferris, eco-celeb David De Rothschild, and top designer Yves Behar, Catalin and Adrian decided to work together and take on this challenge!

Going viral

Catalin and Adrian spent their winter break passionately working on the project together.

The pair’s hard work paid off. After much deliberation they were declared the winners of the Crowstorm winning an amazing prize bundle of:

  • $10,000 in cash
  • up to $10,000 to consult on the renovation project
  • a 3 weeks stay in the finished apartment in NYC
  • a Strida folding bike

As well as the prize pool, they also received things that money can’t buy; lots of media attention, huge amounts of exposure, and many new contracts and clients as a result of their design.

Almost immediately the apartment design was turned into a reality as Graham Hill renovated and created the very first “Life Edited” apartment.

Here is a video (with almost 7 million views!) of how the apartment turned out:

Not only that, but quickly the world’s media starting picking up on their amazing design. Countless huge websites featured the “tiny apartment” including Mashable and Business Insider.

The tip of the iceberg

The pair both agree that participating in this Crowdstorm had a significant impact on their careers. In fact, the prizes that they won were just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the value that has come from working on the jovoto platform.

When asked about the impact participating in the Crowdstorm has had, Adrian said “This project really gave a clear direction to my career and the publicity around it attracted new clients. It also got me the chance to work on some awesome projects abroad”. As for Catalin, he now spends his days working for Life Edited as their in-house designer!

Adrian has continued to work on jovoto since the Life Edited project, “I have been participating in other projects on jovoto and have earned several prizes”, he said.

Another design by Catalin and Adrian

Another design by Catalin and Adrian

The opportunity of jovoto

jovoto was created to give people from all over the world equal opportunities to succeed in their career by giving access to major brands where otherwise it would be impossible. jovoto is a place where collaboration is encouraged and people can learn from one another – connecting with creatives from all over the world.

This is just one of many success stories of creatives who have taken their career to a whole new level by participating in Crowdstorms on the jovoto platform.

As always jovoto is completely free to join. There are always interesting Crowdstorms running where global brands such as Adidas, Jägermeister, Victorinox, Deutsche Bank, and more, ask for the creative community to help them solve design problems.

It’s easy to sign up and there are great opportunities to further your career whether you are an architect, graphic designer, product designer, or a general creative thinker.

Advice from Catalin and Adrian

We asked Cataline and Adrian about the benefits of working on jovoto. They said “It was a great learning experience for us. We found getting instant feedback from others very beneficial and used it to improve the design throughout the Crowdstorm.”

They also went on to give some advice for new creatives participating in Crowdstorms: “We would recommend focusing on the brief, work as much as possible to develop your idea to the fullest, keep it simple and also use the feedback to constantly improve your submission until the very end of the competition.”

As you can see from Catalin and Adrain’s experience. jovoto is a full creative experience where you can connect with other creatives, refine your skills, learn new skills, and in cases like this, take your career to a whole new level.

Join jovoto today

Do you want to follow in Catalin and Adrian’s footsteps? Join jovoto today to become part of our professional community of creatives worldwide, work for brands such as adidas, Audi, Greenpeace and many more and develop as a creative through feedback and collaboration. 

Header image from Treehugger.

James Brooks

Based in the UK, James specialises in branding and online growth for start-ups. You can read more of his articles on Medium.



    From where I can buy a table like the one used in the living room (the one for 10 people)?

    boys You are amazing

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