Geometric micro-office on wheels works the angles
DesignersJustin Rice and Kagan Taylor from Los Angeles-based build and design studioKnowhow Shop have recently completed an eye-catching micro-office. DubbedLighthouse, the 154-sq ft (14.3-sqm)unit is designed as a backyard office on wheels, andalso resembles the studio's Lunar Cat Lander shelter, designed for homeless cats back in2016.
Withits use of geometric angles and shapes, the office pod looks quitesmall from the outside, howeveritboasts a surprisingly spacious interior. "Itdoes feel bigger inside and we are able to have four people workingtogether in it comfortably," Justin andKagan reveal to New Atlas.
Builtusing structural insulated panels (SIPs) andsalvaged Douglas Fir fromold beams, the duo adoptedfurniture building techniques to complete the office space. Astrong focus was given to using lightweight and reclaimed materials in order to create a final product that has little impact on theenvironment and is light enough to be easily moved around.
To achievethis, the micro-office is built on heavy-duty castor wheels, which allows the pod to be moved from place to place when required. The added bonus of havingthe structure on wheels meansit is kept above the ground that helps keep it dry during wet weather.
"Wehave a small shop yard and value flexibility in our workflow," the duo say. "Havingthe office on wheels allows us to move it when we have a particularlylarge material delivery or in the case that we move our studio (avery real possibility in LA's rental market)."
Featuringa unique door with no right angles and a bespoke skylightinspired by traditional boat building, the office is all aboutcapturing plenty of natural light and maximizing the interior space.Inside, the studio office features beautiful wooden wallpaneling and flooring, built-in furniture, four computer workstations, and plenty of storage. The project was conceived of as a way toshowcase the duo's talents and approach to design, while alsoserving as a functional office for their business.
"Itwas an interesting project, we did everything ourselves, fromfabricating custom SIPs panels to fiber-glassing and painting theexterior and of course we built all the interior woodwork and doorsand windows," they say. "We were pretty frugal and tried to save money wherewe could: using reclaimed Douglas Fir for the woodwork and evenmilling our own tongue and groove flooring, but we didn't want to cutany corners and did everything with the intention of it being ashowcase project. We worked on the project when we could in betweenother jobs so it took a while, but it was super rewarding when wefinally wrapped it up and moved in last July."
TheLighthouse's over-sized feature window and skylight allow forplenty of natural light to fill the space during the day, while in the evening a single desk lamp is capable of efficiently lighting theinterior. The skylight can also be opened to allow natural air flowthrough the office. Currently, the office is powered bymains power from the Knowhow studio building, however the pod could easily be fitted with solarpanels.
"Most 'Tiny Homes' are built to look like small versions of traditionalvernacular architecture," the two say. "We weren't interested in trying to recreatebuildings that exist in the world, rather, we wanted to create thetypes of buildings we would like to see, albeit on a small scale. Also, it's not often we think about howmuch a building weighs, but in this case, because it is constructedout of SIPs panels, it weighs about the as much as a family car.This, plus the fact that the panels are prefabricated and can beshipped to site, allows for really minimal environmentaldisturbance."
KnowhowShop would like to start building Lighthouses for their clients, which canbe assembled on site within a day, and the team is also currentlyworking on designs for a two-room version. The duo still need to workout pricing for the pods but they believe the final cost of theLighthouse project was around US$50,000, taking into considerationtheir labor and all materials.