Commune: a new single-family co-living concept by Cutwork

The new Commune single-family co-living concept aims to introduce an innovative solution to the changing dynamics of family living.

Designed by Cutwork, Commune is a unique single-family co-living concept that aims to combine adult communities with children's growth and development | BTR News
Designed by Cutwork, Commune is a unique single-family co-living concept that aims to combine adult communities with children's growth and development.

Pioneering architecture and design studio Cutwork has announced the launch of the co-living concept Commune and has provided a first look at the project. Rolling out the concept in France, Cutwork and Commune have stated a desire to create single-family co-living schemes under the same pretence globally.

The vision at Commune, brought to life by Cutwork, is to embrace the growing segment of single-parent families, acknowledging the resilience and needs of this community.

Most Commune residences will comprise 25 to 50 private units, featuring a minimum of two bedrooms, an independent bathroom and kitchenette, spacious common areas including a fully furnished kitchen, dining and living room, a multi-purpose playroom, a co-working space and a communal garden space.

Understanding the unique challenges and joys of single parenthood, Commune provides an environment where single parents can find solace, support and community. In designing the co-living concept, Cutwork has created three distinctive ‘worlds’ within each space:

1. A world for the children without their parents that is focused on play both independently and with the other children living onsite. Accessed by doors placed low down and often hidden away or disguised as other things such as a wardrobe or TV cabinet, this gives the children freedom while parents are still able to oversee what is happening but at a distance.

2. A world for the adults without their children to give them some personal time. Again, hidden doors are a focal design point that lead into more grown-up spaces of quiet reading nooks, a coworking spot and even a Speakeasy style bar space accessed through a fake fridge door.

3. A world for all the families at Commune to meet collectively to socialise, connect with, and support one another – creating a true sense of community within the building.

“At Cutwork, we envision a world where shared architecture and design inspire us to think differently about being together, and our partnership with Commune perfectly encapsulates this mission. We’ve considered the design for each part of the Commune experience, integrating compact living spaces designed to host parents and children with shared communal areas that promote a strong sense of community and support for single-parent families. Working together with Commune enables us to redefine the living standards for this frequently ignored and deeply underserved demographic.”

Kelsea Crawford, Co-Founder and CEO, Cutwork

In France alone, one in four families are a single parent unit with 24% of children from single-parent families living in ‘overcrowded’ housing. Data from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who frequently examine family structures and dynamics across member countries, reinforces this, showing an upward trend in divorce rates.

However, the OECD also reported a decline in the number of marriages overall, reflecting how many individuals are now consciously choosing single parenthood or opting not to have children with a partner. However, analysis also shows how single-parent families are among the most exposed to the cost-of-living crisis, with an average drop of 25% in their standard of living one year after separation, resulting in a much higher than average potential for insecurity.

Much of this deterioration in living conditions stems from the challenge of rehousing, underlining again the clear need for affordable accommodation. While the first Commune sites will be in France, this is a concept set to revolutionise single parent living worldwide.

Loneliness is a growing concern globally and parents, especially single parents, frequently testify to feeling this more acutely. A study by the British Red Cross found that more than eight in ten mothers (83%) under the age of 30 had feelings of loneliness some of the time, while 43% said they felt lonely all the time.

Another survey found that 90% of new mothers felt lonely since giving birth, with over half (54%) feeling they had no friends. Single parenthood further exacerbates this and in France for 82% of single families, it is the mother who raises the children. The Commune concept aims to provide a co-living sanctuary where both single mothers and fathers can connect and be surrounded by a supportive community.

“Commune and Cutwork are convinced that we need to put human relations and interactions back at the core of the places we evolve in, and that buildings need to serve our basic need for connection. Spatially and architecturally, we have translated this into living spaces that encourage encounters and break the vicious circle of loneliness, while preserving the privacy of single parents and their children. The Commune residences are one piece of a more sustainable and desirable world, and we can’t wait to roll them out in France and around the world!”

Tara Heuzé-Sarmini, Co-Founder and CEO, Commune

Commune collaborated with Cutwork in recognition of its unparalleled experience in designing innovative living spaces and furniture. From the meticulously crafted interiors, which are thoughtfully conceived to evolve for the different needs of parents and children, to the overall look and feel of the brand applicable to all future sites, Commune reflects Cutwork’s award-winning expertise.

As a result, Cutwork has created an environment that feels both modern and comfortable, with child friendly designs that sit alongside a sleeker aesthetic suited to parents. Using one colour and material palette throughout results in the sense of a welcoming unified home.

Commune’s first site in Paris opened in December 2023, welcoming 14 families. It has aimed to support and facilitate single-parent families in finding a new and sustainable balance by also offering competitive pricing in key urban locations.