Very few pieces of architecture are forms of trolling. But this tiny hut, designed for Muji by Konstantin Grcic, is one of them: It is just small enough to avoid needing planning permission from the local government to build in Japan.
Designboom explains that it’s one of three Muji Huts built in a park in Tokyo as part of a city design festival. And if Muji’s other prefab homes are any indication, we could eventually see them actually go into production. Each hut is designed by a different product designer who works with the company — Grcic, Jasper Morrison, and Naoto Fukasawa — who were each asked to focused on a different building material.
For example, Grcic’s hut is aluminium; it’s designed a little bit like a shipping container so it can be loaded onto a truck and moved without much fanfare, according to Designboom. The pristine wooden interior even features industrial aluminium straps, like those you’d find inside a truck to steady heavy objects on the road.
Meanwhile, Naoto Fukasawa’s equally tiny hut, made of wood, is more of what you’d describe as a traditional cabin, if your idea of a traditional cabin involves a giant soaking tub and elegant glass walls.
Morrison’s cork hut is the simplest of the bunch: A single room, clad in cork boards with tatami mats underfoot.
The project’s website definitely seems to suggest that these are purpose-built cabins — it’s replete with videos of rustling trees, Thoreau-esque quotes about life in the woods, and the sound of bubbling brooks. But there’s reason to think these little huts might also translate well to cities — at least Japanese ones. The force behind the project, Muji House, is a company that Muji proper spun off five years ago to focus on architecture — in particular, smaller, less expensive prefabricated housing for Japanese markets.
As we explained last year, the housing market is such in Japan that the resale value of a given home is extremely low; most property buyers prefer to build their own designs. That’s an expensive undertaking, and Muji clearly sees an opportunity to offer well-designed but low-cost homes to young buyers. Unlike Muji House’s past prefab homes, these three cabins would be even better suited to city-hoppers, since they could move along with their owners. After all, you wouldn’t even need permission to build Grcic’s.
Anyways, there’s no clear indication that these cabins will be buyable anytime soon, but you can already buy a Muji home online — why not a hut?