Advice

From the tallest to the smallest building

The Shard skyscraper is famous for being the tallest building in the European Union. It’s the work of Italian architect Renzo Piano, stretching 95 storeys tall. After designing such a tall building containing offices and a restaurant, Renzo wanted to turn his attention to a more private space – the home. I expected his creation to push the boundaries of home design, by producing a home that towered over its neighbours. It does push the boundaries but it’s actually for a very different reason – this time, it’s one of the smallest!

Diogene was created with support from Vitra furniture design and is named after the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope who abandoned society and all its luxuries in order to live in a ceramic jar. Embracing minimalist living, the building covers 65 square metres and despite its tiny size, it manages to contain a kitchen, bathroom and shower – at a cost of £17,200.

Renzo has cleverly split the home into two, with the front housing a living room – complete with a pullout sofa, a folding table, chairs and boxes to provide storage for your possessions. The back is home to a kitchen with an electric oven, fridge, shower and toilet. Technically, it has everything you’d need. As Renzo says, it “provides you with what you really need and no more”.

Still, personally I’d need a lot more storage space and it’s definitely not a family home. If you’re following Renzo’s train of thought, it’s a perfect weekend home or home office – and while I can’t see it taking off as a weekend home, I can certainly picture myself using it for office space.

What I find most impressive is the effort to make it eco-friendly. Drinking water is provided by a rainwater harvesting system which collects rainwater in a barrel, before cleaning it and reusing it. There are solar panels on the roof to provide energy, all glass is triple glazed and the wooden shell is covered with aluminium panels to protect it from the elements and enable it to be easily transported. Aluminium is known for being light as well as easy to update and maintain.

Credit for all images belongs to Vitra

A modern approach to designing prevents the visuals from letting the technical down too. Light wood tones happily rest alongside a lively red door, sofa and inbuilt shelving. To finish off, Renzo couldn’t let a traditional roof pass without being improved in some way. As a result, you’ll spot rounded corners, just giving it enough of an edge to make you want to venture inside.

Could you picture yourself using Diogene as an office and would you be prepared to spend £17,200 for the unique build? Let us know by commenting below or get in touch on Twitter

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