As Japan is home to some of the most densely populated areas in the world, it comes as little surprise that micro-living is so popular. It is perhaps also unsurprising that Muji, the purveyor of simply designed, good quality products, has emerged as a champion of small prefab houses. Afterall, Muji has been designing themed prefab houses in collaboration with leading architects since 2008, most notably with Kengo Kuma.
For the recent Design Touch event in Tokyo Muji launched the latest additions to this series with 3 very different huts designed by Konstantin Grcic, Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrision. These huts are even smaller than the prefab houses and they each focus on different functions. Fukasawa's wooden hut, for example, has a traditional pitched roof and sliding glass panels as walls. With a traditional Japanese bath and stove inside, it could easily pass for a conventional Japanese house, albeit on a smaller scale. This is in stark contrast with the aluminium hut of Grcic, which doesn't even have water or electricity connected to it. The hut is in fact little more than a multifunctional metal box which can be set up anywhere.
It is unclear whether these huts are commercially available, but with ever increasing demand for space the idea could well catch on. Ikea should be worried.
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