It's the TreeHugger mantra of "less is more": we find the smaller but efficient spaces of microhouses fascinating and irresistable, especially when they're affordable, well-designed or even DIY-friendly. More often than not, you find homes in orthogonal, angular shapes -- but is this form truly efficient? Swedish designer Torsten Ottesjö's Hus.Ett (that's Swedish for "House One") is a proposition to that question. Situated like a minimal but graceful, sweeping gesture in a wooded area in Sweden, it deliberately distinguishes itself from other more cube-like microhouses.
While the über-modern architect Le Corbusier famously said that "the house is a machine for living in," here Ottesjö challenges this narrowly mechanistic attitude to design by likening a house to an animal instead, evolving with the natural landscape:
A house in the countryside with the character of a living creature that is adapted to its surroundings. An animal evolutionarily adapted to house people. What about the shape of an animal that has evolved in the landscape?
It's a fitting analogy as the house itself seems to consciously shy away from orthogonal angles, choosing instead to rise up and clasp its sides together in a exquisite, prayerful expression, a scaled and writhing form reminiscent of Sweden's famous fish, the herring.
The minimal interiors and in-built furniture inside reflects Ottesjö's belief that humans need very little to live comfortably and in harmony with nature. He approaches the small space as a something delightful, virtuous and purposeful, rather than as an obstacle.
The orientation of the microhouse maximizes natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting and other gadgets. The house itself is built out of local species of wood -- including aspen, ash, pine, spruce -- while the roof and walls are made of biodegradable, cellulose-coated cardboard.
His attitude is to challenge the cube and to ask: "What is it that actually makes a room feel spacious? Is it necessarily the size of the cube?" With Hus.Ett, it seems that space is less of something to be framed and measured, and more of a living, evolving entity, intimately connected with its inhabitants, their movements and their surroundings.
Check out the rest of Ottesjö's intriguing works and installations on his website.
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