by Meghna MehtaAug 18, 2020
Even as we progress into the second half of the year 2020, we are in the thick of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of the virus has pushed millions of people to work from home and as that becomes the new normal for many, despite pandemic-related measures being slowly lifted, people worldwide are looking for comfortable environments that help them focus and be productive at work. However, not everyone has home offices or an extra room for an office setting, but we would still like to have the ergonomic bases covered. To fill this gap, Hello Wood, a Budapest-based architecture and design studio, has come up with a unique solution that fulfils this requirement without having to make changes to one’s home. Apart from it being ideal for a work environment, it can also serve as a guest room, playroom, or simply a place of refuge to relax and be creative.
This easy-to-deliver and easy-to-install workstation has been designed to be placed anywhere; in one’s backyard, in the front or back of an office or multiplied and placed on an open ground to create the new ‘co-working space’. These modular prefab homes have the advantage of being delivered, while also being low on energy consumption and greener than a house built of non-renewable materials with conventional technologies. In spite of its simple production, the cabin is non-conventional with 15 sides, showing different face from every angle.
STIR speaks with Hello Wood to understand the process from initiation to execution and the importance of a design like this during these uncertain times that are going to force swift and permanent changes in our work culture.
Meghna Mehta (MM): How was the idea of the first cabin conceptualised?
Hello Wood (HW): Our client in Hungary wanted a meeting room-cum-outdoor workstation in their garden next to their office. Since the original office building is close to the construction space, we only had to think about a space with a desk and chairs, there was no need for a bathroom and kitchen. We set out to create a unique design that fitted in the garden atmosphere.
MM: How did the initial design take shape? What did it take to create an efficient small space?
HW: When designing the concept, our main goal was to create a highly functional space. The quality of the space is not about the huge size, but by its complexity. We believe that for those who adapt a minimalist lifestyle, it isn’t a challenge but a pleasure to spend their time in a practical space. Our main goal is to meet the needs of the present and achieve a more sustainable future. Due to its low-energy consumption and environmental focus, building a small house is more environmentally friendly than building a house with traditional technologies and non-renewable materials.
MM: Did the design philosophy evolve over time, and if yes, how?
HW: We had different and various previously designed cabins available in our hands. However, we settled at designing an organic shape that would not look eccentric in the desired area.
MM: How were the details within the cabin designed? Did the environment and views play any role in it?
HW: Zoning of the space was not the most important aspect of this project, there were several others in it. However, we did pay attention to build up the cabins in a slightly calm, hidden space of the garden, where people wouldn't see from the street. There were several legal restrictions we had to deal with and view from cabins were taken into account as well. One walking path had to connect the two separate units.
MM: What intricate details did you pay attention to while designing a compact space like this?
HW: When designing a compact house, the starting point is to create a complex, highly functional space; with the small size, each and every square inch of the interior counts. Workstation is the love child of design and architecture; transcending the conventional cube-shape, it is more like a piece of art that blends into the landscape. The pebble-shaped cabin almost brings the illustrations from our favourite childhood books to life. We believe nature feels truly close in the cabin, as the interior is dominated by natural Scotts pine wood and gigantic windows invite the world of the garden inside.
MM: Have you employed any unique materials or construction methodologies here?
HW: The workstation has also been designed to adapt to the change of seasons with insulated interiors that ensure the comfort of the room in the winter, while the built-in air conditioner protects from the heat of summer days. Seamless work is made possible by the electrical outlets. The office cabin has been manufactured using state-of-the-art technologies; designed on the computer, and the blueprint can be instantly forwarded to the CNC machine.
As the installation of Workstation Cabins takes only a few days, the client is not required to stay at the construction site for a longer period. These work pods combine design and architecture beautifully and offer an opportunity to be close to nature while working. Other Hello Wood cabins are currently in the process of being put together for various functions such as relaxation to meeting rooms and community accommodation dimensions.
Name: Workstation Cabin
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Area: 2*10 sqm
Time taken from conception to construction: 4.5 months (in 3 months during non-COVID times)
Time taken for construction: 2.5 months (1.5 months during non-COVID times)
Design: Hello Wood
Creative Idea: András Huszár, Péter Pozsár, Dávid Ráday, Krisztián Tóth
Lead Designer: Péter Pozsár
Project Architect: Tamás Fülöp, László Mangliár
Structural engineering: Zoltán V. Nagy (Lapidárium Kft.)