After tinkering with pop-up workspace designs for years, architects Tomaso Boano and Jonas Prišmontas of the London-based practice Boano Prišmontas saw an opportunity to put their prefab prototypes to the test when the COVID-19 pandemic upended work/life balance worldwide.
To give Londoners reprieve from makeshift offices in cramped apartments, the young architecture firm has launched "My Room in The Garden," a prefab home office that can be easily built in less than a day with just a mallet and an Allen wrench.
"My Room in the Garden is an answer to the future way of working. It’s a cozy prefab hideout for London gardens and courtyard spaces, perfect for those working from home—or anyone looking for a pocket space tailored to their needs and comforts," explain the architects.
"Distanced desks and laptop stands have populated our living rooms and saturated shared spaces," the architects say. "London households, whose space standards have been squeezed to the minimum, are struggling. That’s why we believe that it is not fair that employees have to sacrifice and compromise their domestic environment any further. The solution is not to be found inside the houses, but outside."
Designed for affordability and comfort, the digitally fabricated birch plywood modules can be easily expanded and customized. The modular flat-pack system also includes clear polycarbonate cladding for weatherproofing.
Unveiled at this year’s London Design Festival, My Room in the Garden builds on the firm’s previous projects—including their 2016 Minima Moralia pop-up studio for designers and makers, as well as their more recent Arches Project, which is a digitally fabricated kit-of-parts solution for turning underutilized areas into affordable workspaces. Today, the architects have made modular architecture and flatpack solutions a focal point of their practice, and they recently opened up a manufacturing workshop where all their projects are designed and preassembled.
The base module begins at £5,000 (about $6,600 USD), and it can be customized with wall-mounted add-ons such as pegboard systems, mirrors, and a variety of wood finishes. Each base module measures 1.8 meters by 2.4 meters, with a fixed height of 2.5 meters—the maximum height allowable for a built structure without planning permission.
The standard kit includes either a single or double door, corrugated polycarbonate cladding, and plain plywood walls. Insulated panels and glazing can also be added for an additional cost.
The firm has installed small and medium standard, uninsulated units in Hackney, London, and they are currently in the process of manufacturing several more pods, which have been individually tailored to each client’s needs.
"Like many other design businesses, we suffered the uncertainty brought by the COVID-19 pandemic," say the architects. "Instead of giving up working, waiting for the pandemic to pass, we invested our time during lockdown to prototype and manufacture this project in our workshop. We are really sad to see that many practices are deeply suffering the effect of the pandemic, and we advocate our fellow designers to blur the boundaries of their profession and dare to envision the future they want!"
To learn more, visit My Room in the Garden.
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