The tiny house movement has evolved dramatically since its early days, when a saccharine-sweet, rustic aesthetic was de rigeur, and floorplans were relatively simple. Now, things are getting interesting in the tiny house world, with a variety of styles, configurations and price points to choose from -- or at least oogle at.
Combining a modern sensibility with transformer-furniture magic and tiny house portability is this striking tiny design by young Italian architect Leonardo Di Chiara. Feeling like a hyper-efficient, minimalist micro-home on wheels, we get an extensive tour of the aVOID house via the excellent Fair Companies. It's a must-watch:
What's immediately apparent is how pared-down the space feels. As Di Chiara explains, he prefers small, minimalist spaces, a hold-over from his childhood, when he lived in a small room that had to be constantly cleaned due to his allergies.
This tiny home is called "a void" because it's an "empty space, connected to an experience -- your living experience. The more you live inside, the more you open the things that can make this void functional." For instance, to activate this void, one can fold functional elements down to suit one's needs: a bed, a dining table, open and tuck doors to reveal a kitchen, cabinets, even dining chairs.
Di Chiara collaborated and worked with over 150 various companies and suppliers to create or install customized items such as his kitchen sink, faucet, lights, insulation and more. For instance, Di Chiara worked with a lighting designer to create a lighting system that illuminates the space in a way that makes it feel bigger.
Wood was used exclusively throughout the design, even down to Di Chiara's recycled wood-fibre sleeping bag. The outer-facing surfaces are painted white, but as one discovers, unfolds and deploys various elements, warm wood colours appear to signify "home" and habitation. The roof deck is accessible via a ladder. The bathroom is a tight fit, however; it's designed as a wet-room but the drain and sink haven't been installed yet.
After graduation, Di Chiara had wanted to own his own home, but also realized he wanted to travel around Europe and experience other cultures. So instead, he embarked on building this house as a compromise of sorts, which he says is almost a "traditional apartment on wheels."
Di Chiara likens himself to a "sculptor" when living in this ever-transforming space:
Living inside aVOID is not, in my case, just a minimalistic challenge measurable in square meters. Rather it seems an intimate relationship that, over the past few months, is getting me in direct contact with my first creation as an architect. It happens often that I stop and think, watching the space in its different functional arrangements. The living experience allows me to verify, test and modify the house, implementing it with new solutions. For this reason I call aVOID an “open” prototype: a work-in-progress construction site. The tiny house is like a short instruction manual to reductionism. By itself, it teaches and pushes you to deprive yourself of unnecessary things, to consume less water and less energy, to put back your clothes in their place and to wash the dishes immediately after eating. The void, which is obtained by closing again all the wall-mounted furniture, is the refuge of my creativity. The absence of any visual distraction caused by personal objects or daily business makes room for my imagination, which is reflected into my future designs.
Notably, the home is conceived as a "row house" -- there are no windows on the sides, so that units can be placed right beside each other. This neighbourly consideration for increased urban density makes the aVOID a bit different than its North American counterparts, which are often designed to be situated separately from one another. Di Chiara's aim is to someday create "migratory neighbourhoods" of tiny houses all over Europe.
"More people are becoming nomads." he says. "Everyone wants to experience this life going around to all the different countries." Di Chiara envisions that in the future, tiny house owners can use an app to find different spots to park their home.
For now, Di Chiara is working on promoting the idea of tiny houses in Italy and the rest of Europe via workshops and an pan-European tiny house tour. Di Chiara has now moved his house to Berlin, Germany for the first stop, where he is a participant in the Bauhaus Campus Exhibition until March 2018; he is also part of Tinyhouse University as well. For more, visit Leonardo Di Chiara.