With so many of us living in small apartments where every square inch counts, think of all of the space you could save if you could tuck your kitchen away when you weren’t using it. That’s the concept behind Spanish architect and designer Ana Arana’s Gali system, a portable, ultra-compact micro kitchen with components that unfold like a Swiss Army knife when it’s time to cook. Showcased at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair during NYCxDesign week, Gali challenged showgoers to imagine the possibilities that can arise when they let go of their notions of what a traditional kitchen should look like.

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Small apartment? No worries with #anaarana’s Gali kitchenette all-in-one with everything you need to store, prep and cook food in a super-compact form. #icff #nycxdesign #interiordesign #nyc #design

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Arana was one of 11 emerging designers representing five countries selected to exhibit at the show through ICFF and Bernhardt Design’s annual ICFF Studio competition.

The Madrid-based designer said she got the idea for the Gali from her own experiences living in a small space, as well as from researching people’s daily food preparation and consumption rituals.

“I live alone in a very small apartment but my kitchen is huge, and I’m always thinking why is there was so much space wasted in something I don’t use so much?” she told us. “And I did research and realized that the kitchen hasn’t changed a lot since the first kitchens designed after the first World War, so now I think it’s time for a change.”

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The micro-kitchen unit looks a bit like a dresser when it’s fully closed and houses modules that can be pulled out when the kitchen is “activated.” A sink, a stove, a refrigerator, a microwave or toaster, a trash can, a countertop and storage are all enclosed inside of a structure that can be collapsed down to occupy less than nine square feet.

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Arana estimates that her prototype cost about 2,500 euros to make. The designer says that she is currently seeking a partner that can help her manufacture the system and bring it to the market.

+ Ana Arana