Maybe it’s just because they’re made of three different materials, but there’s something about the Muji Huts that’s reminiscent of the houses from Three Little Pigs fable. Although all are designed to be as mighty-mighty as a brick house, one is made of cork, the other wood, and the third aluminium.
Unveiled at Tokyo’s Design Touch competition, the huts come from Japanese home goods and furniture retailer Muji. The company has been making prefab houses for a while, but these micro-homes are meant to be easy to move thanks to their lightweight material, and are meant as an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, according to Inhabitat.
Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic, and Naoto Fukasawa each created one of the designs. The wood hut has a large traditional Japanese bath, wood-burning stove, and simple cot. Tatami mats and and a no-frills kitchen can be found inside the cork home. The aluminium house is spartan too, with a fairly empty downstairs and sparsely furnished loft.
It’s not a surprising turn for Muji. The company started making its “vertical houses” in response to Japanese homeowners’ preference for building their own new homes instead of taking over an existing (or “used”) one. Homes aren’t seen as an investment, so why spend gobs of money on something the next person will just tear down anyway?
But it’s not just that propensity for newness that might be driving Muji’s new, tinier direction. Land in Tokyo is priced at an average $1,000 per square foot, according to CNN, which notes that micro-homes are catching on in the populous city.
The Muji Huts aren’t available yet, so there’s no information on pricing. However, its vertical homes — which are also quite compact but three stories high — cost around $180,000, according to Quartz.