Posted on April 22 2017
Every now and then we get a new product here at Bitch New York that just WOW's us. The Dog Room has everything we love about a Dog Kennel. It's Stylish and Chic and perfect for those dogs who love a little privacy. It's also a winner of the European Product Design Awards. Check out this interview with the Designer.
As an award-winning Australian architect with your own design office, MODO, what attracted you to collaborate with Pen on their very first product?
Most definitely it was their vision. When Pen first approached me, they spoke passionately about the current design environment in Australia and its pool of talented designers. Their enthusiasm and drive to work with local designers and to celebrate the thriving design scene was a vision I shared deeply.
Describe the creative process for The Dog Room.
The guiding principle for The Dog Room was to create a design equally for owner and dog.
Through research and observation, I noticed that dogs prefer to find a cave-like shelter when "finding their spot". The Dog Room has been designed deliberately to support this natural behavior, with a half-covered entry that creates a cozy hiding nook.
The architects' pitch-house form design was deliberately used as an iconographic reference to the idea of ‘home'. The minimalist aesthetic, in conjunction with its materials, give The Dog Room a sense of texture and quality that complements any interior or exterior fit-out. To support durability for external use the design includes a raised base, aluminum portal frame, waterproof panels, and rubber seals.
A common issue from owners with traditional doghouses is odor build-up, which mostly emanates from the floor. To prevent this, The Dog Room has a removable bed that allows easy cleaning. The mattress is a charcoal-based memory foam composite, which has the unique ability to filter and absorb bacteria and odor. Two vent holes at the rear allow for natural cross ventilation to help cool the room.
How involved in the concept or strategy phase were you for The Dog Room with Pen?
Very much from the beginning, we were involved in both the concept and strategy of The Dog Room. We believe good design is one that has a holistic approach throughout.
Have there been elements that surprised you when crossing design disciplines? Was The Dog Room as simple as building a small-scale house?
Although the function of the product is very different from a house, we still found that we were able to use and borrow design technique from our architectural background. Especially in the design exploration and generation stage, where they begin to differ is at fabrication. Unlike a house which is built on a specific site, The Dog Room needed to be designed to be flexible and portable, which is why we made it a flat pack.
In your past work, you have used varied materials, predominantly those used in building, but also explored the characteristics of others through furniture and jewelry design. What keeps you inspired to explore new mediums and how does this work with each client’s vision?
The design process is a series of little ideas (I like to think of these as “ingredients"), which are then brought together in a network of thought and consideration by the designer. So every time I sit down to work on the design it’s so important to throw in quite a wide array of “ingredients” into the initial mix, which we then filter and work with to form a design direction.
The materials are one of the core elements that can really define the way we feel within a room or the way it feels in our hands. So we are constantly inspired to explore new materials and textures as a way of broadening our design process.
What’s in the pipeline for you in 2017?
We are working on some really exciting residential projects, where we are able to explore and continue to refine our processes. Along with this, we are expanding into commercial architecture and currently working on a new 4-story office building. In this new typology for our office, we are exploring the often large and public presence of a commercial building and the question ‘How public can a private commercial building be?'
The dog room is our first product, and hopefully not the last. We are constantly working and exploring other product ideas. So who knows what 2017 might bring?