A Quirky Micro-Office Hides Behind a “Hairy” Facade

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By Lucy Wang
A tiny, distraction-free workspace is concealed behind a mysterious “hairy” exterior with no discernible entrance in Nottingham, England.

Motivated by the dilemma of workplace distractions, the design team at 2hD Architecture Workshop creates Mission Control—an experimental micro-office covered in broom heads. 

Yes, broom heads. Serving as the testing grounds to implement new technologies and projects, this quirky garden-shed-turned-workspace delivers the calm environment the team hoped for, including much more. 

An up-close view of the interlocking broom heads.

An up-close view of the interlocking broom heads.

Of course, the most eye-catching experimental element of the structure is the "hairy" façade made up of 546 interlocking broom heads.

"We were looking for a material that could help conceal any entrance into the building (a safety feature to avoid break ins), as well as create a soft exterior that would be safe and friendly to the garden area outside, where the kids often play," explains Oslo–based director Thibaut Devulder. 

The "hairy" exterior is comprised of 546 interlocking broom heads.

The "hairy" exterior is comprised of 546 interlocking broom heads.

Devulder states, "The use of natural materials was also important in the project (we used wood for the structure and sheep’s wool as insulation.) During one of our early brainstorms, the concept of ‘fur’ emerged and we quickly converged towards broom heads as the perfect candidate."

The office is a located just a few feet away from the larger home office.

The office is a located just a few feet away from the larger home office.

The broom heads were also an economical choice, and locally sourced. The seamless appearance of the wall-to-wall bristles gives the structure a hermetic feel, while emphasizing its primary purpose: a workspace free of distraction.

The hidden entrance slides open.

The hidden entrance slides open.

"Entering the building requires interaction: finding the ‘secret panel’ broom head, sliding back the heavy screen door, and pushing through the solid leaf behind," explains the architects.

Here is a SketchUp rendering of the assembled prefab unit.

Here is a SketchUp rendering of the assembled prefab unit.

At just 75 square feet, the small size of the space made for a relatively straightforward prefabrication process. The team modeled the structural panels in SketchUp, and then prefabricated 13 timber panels in their workshop, located 160 feet from the building site.

The micro-office was built from a former garden shed.

The micro-office was built from a former garden shed.

Inside the breathable and vapor-open wall construction, six inches of sheep wool is used for insulation. The broom heads, screwed onto the battens, form the final layer. 

The interior is illuminated by an illuminating sky light.

The interior is illuminated by an illuminating sky light.

In contrast to its highly textured and dark façade, the interior is clad in whitewashed plywood. And because it was envisioned as an isolation chamber for uninterrupted work, the office is minimally decorated.

The interior includes two back-to-back desks.

The interior includes two back-to-back desks.

A single operable skylight in the pitched roof brings significant natural light and ventilation indoors.

Mission Control was built with 13 prefab timber modules.

Mission Control was built with 13 prefab timber modules.

"Commuting to work in Mission Control is an important symbolic process: The full experience of ‘going to work’ is here in condensed and enhanced form," says the architects. "Leaving the house, and traveling the 4-meter (13 feet) journey to the door of the office, provides just enough time to calm and focus." 

A drawing of the interior layout. 

A drawing of the interior layout. 


Here is the layout from above.

Here is the layout from above.