Have you ever wished you had a little more room at home? Maybe all you want is some extra storage space so you can put away those miscellaneous items that tend to pile up. Or perhaps you would like a breakfast nook, study or guest bedroom. You dream and ponder, but ultimately concede that you just don't have the space- or the budget- to expand your home.
Now imagine living in Hong Kong, one of the world's most densely populated cities, and trying to find additional living space. If you think your home isn't large enough, you may sober up when you hear that the average apartment size in that city is 56 square metres. Hong Kongers could fit their homes into some Sandton dining rooms!
Enter designer Gary Chang. Chang has lived his whole life in a 32 square metre apartment. Like many of us, he also dreamed of putting in a guest bedroom, state-of-the-art kitchen and more storage space. Buying a larger apartment was prohibitively expensive and he couldn't imagine splitting his existing home into more rooms.
So, he decided to turn the concept of living on its head. Instead of adding more rooms, he designed a brilliant series of movable panels and pull-out furniture to turn his single room into a twenty-room apartment. Slide the TV out the way and you'll find the kitchen. Pull down the back of the sofa to set up a double bed. In a flash he can transform his office table into a dining room and, when you pull back his CD rack, you find the bath.
Chang appreciated that he couldn't expand the space that he had, so he chose to see the space differently and use it accordingly. The result: A spectacular prototype for multi-functional space that will soon become available to Hong Kong's residents.
Tomorrow's Torah portion begins with G-d saying: "See, I have placed before you a blessing and a curse". Besides the obvious message, that our choices determine what happens in our lives, Hashem also offers us a great tip on how to approach life. "See". The way you perceive your circumstances will decide whether your life is a blessing or, G-d forbid, the opposite.
Hashem advises us to look for the positive in everything. He assures us that what we look for in life will determine what we find. Look for the good in a situation, and you will find opportunity. Look for the good in another person, and you will discover their goodness.