Retail rent in a city like Paris is sky-high, and that poses a particular problem to any retailer: How do you make enough money during one half of the day to pay for your space? Mathieu Lehanneur created a novel solution for a new shop, Le Laboratoire. By day, the middle of the space is dominated by the display cases. By night, those cases recede into the ceiling and become lighting fixtures. That then frees the space up to be used as a cafe, serving nibbles from the kitchen in the basement. Voila: A space that maximizes revenue, by transforming into different businesses, day and night.
Lehanneur was actually inspired by experts in making use of tight quarters: In particular, coal miners, whose dressing rooms and lockers are sometimes suspended from the ceilings of mines.
More images at Designboom.