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Brief Published: 10 Nov 2015

Tokyo Design Week 2015: Prefab Homes by Muji

Fuji Prefabs by Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic and Naoto Fukasawa (Clockwise L-R)

A new range of prefabricated cabins by Japanese brand Muji provide rural havens away from the busy pace of city life.

The modest dwellings blend Japanese and Western styling in three lightweight models that can be easily transported and constructed within the Japanese countryside. Each has been conceived by a different international designer, and has its own distinct look and material language.

The cork-clad cabin by British designer Jasper Morrison features a sliding glass door and rectangular windows. Colourful tatami mats line the floor of the interior, while distinct zones comprise everything needed for a cosy weekend away – including a compact bathroom, fireplace and stove.

Full-length sliding glass walls provide a visual and physical gateway to the outdoors in Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa's offering. The black wooden frame features a pitched roof and natural wood panelling inside for a traditional cabin feel.

German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic opted for a narrow, two-storey building to keep within Japanese planning permission regulations. Inside, a mezzanine level provides a raised sleeping area, with both floors featuring paper sliding panels. The corrugated aluminium walls borrow fabrication techniques from delivery trucks, while two panels fold out to form an awning and deck – when closed, they offer protection during transportation.

The designs were shown during Tokyo Design Week 2015 (October 24 to November 3) and are reported to be going on sale in Japan in 2017.

First tracked in Design Democracy: Slow, there is a growing desire among urbanites to reconnect with nature as a sanctuary away from technology. See Disconnected Destinations for further insight.

For more examples of smaller homes and new approaches to micro-construction, see Small is Beautiful, Moveable Millennial Microhomes and General Motors: Factory Homes.