Welcome to the first episode of ‘Around the World’, where we will be exploring different, interesting and innovative interiors and architecture from, you guessed it, around the world!
This week I’m taking you to Japan! Designers Naoto-Fukasawa, Konstantin Grcic and Jasper Morrison from Muji, have created a simple home that is small, defined, traditional and comes prefabricated to your front door, or wherever you want it delivered, all wrapped up in a red bow. (I’m not 100% certain on the red bow, but I think it deserves one!)
Materials: This tiny home, built upon a concrete foundation, is made entirely from Japanese wood, with sliding glass doors and a window, which bring in natural light and ventilation. The interior cladding sees the use of untreated Japanese cypress plywood, with a mortar floor and the exterior cladding is also made of Japanese wood. The exterior wood has been charred by using the ancient traditional Japanese technique of ‘shou sugi ban’. This charring helps to prolong the life of the timber, as well as helps create a resistance to insects, decay and even fire.
Size: The size of the home is 9m2 with an extra 3m2 of undercover patio space. The models, plans and demo huts show a bed and heater with a rug on the floor, however, the point of the unfinished interior cladding, other than saving costs and time in the construction phase, is to allow the owners to ‘make it their own’. The same goes for the flooring which is smooth and even, so could be finished with carpet, timber or tiles. The exterior cladding is the only material, which has already been designed and finished, this was of course for added protection from decay, but also to allow the Muji Hut to fit into every surrounding, whether it be the beach, the mountains or your backyard.
Cost: Want one? This Muji Hut will cost you ¥3,000,000 (AUD $58,000), this covers all materials and construction, however the date for sale outside of Japan is yet to be released.
This Muji Hut is wonderful for many reasons; it can act as a permanent residence, a holiday home, even a studio. It could be a wonderful initiative in times of crisis and need, or perhaps be modified slightly to help those without a home. On a smaller scale however, I can’t help but think if it is really all that innovative. Many companies’ are creating prefabricated homes, and many are creating tiny homes..in fact, browse Youtube and you’re sure to find lots of tutorials and house tours of tiny homes that people have made themselves. (While you’re there, check out my own channel – Marleen Sitchenko) I think the difference lies in the traditional Japanese techniques and materials used, as well as the ease of clicking purchase, rather than picking up a hammer.
I’m glad that companies such as these are creating tiny homes/holiday homes, its great to see that McMansions are going out of style. Design for what you need.