Muji enters the tiny house game, showcases its line of wonderfully minimalist ‘Muji Huts’

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RocketNews 24 (by Philip Kendall):

Japan does small better than pretty much any other country in the world. From intricate origami to beautiful bonsai to sushi made with barely a dozen grains of rice, the Japanese people are known for their dexterity and attention to detail.

It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that Japanese retailer Muji is now getting into the tiny house movement and recently showcased its range of prefabricated ‘Muji Hut’ minimalist homes and hangouts.

As a keen follower of the tiny house movement, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours poring over videos, plans and concepts of small, minimalist homes built either out of financial necessity or by those who wish to simplify their lives. These micro-home owners have an altogether different view of what a house should be, keeping their possessions to an absolute minimum (or creating clever storage solutions to keep them out of the way), designing their homes so that rooms function differently depending on the time of day, and embracing a lifestyle that favours the use of shared spaces. It’s not what you’ve got but how you use it, they maintain, and it’s hard to argue when you see how happy this approach to life makes them.

Although its name is more likely to conjure up images of beige rugs, plain lampshades and stationery than one of architecture and floor plans, Muji—known as Mujirushi Ryouhin (lit. ‘no-logo goods’) in its homeland—has been building pre-fabricated homes for quite some time in Japan under the name of Muji House. These simple yet stylish homes are light, airy and functional, not to mention much more affordable than typical homes in Japan, and they seem to be growing in popularity every day.

And now, for those who want to downsize even further, the company has unveiled Muji Hut—a series of three prefabricated buildings of varying styles and dimensions suitable for either straight-up minimalist living or as weekend retreats or shelters.

First up is the ultra-small Arumi no Koya (lit. “aluminium hut”) by industrial designer Konstantin Grcic.

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As its name suggests, the building is covered with in sheets of aluminium on all four sides, with a front that can be folded out to create additional shelter and a small deck, or closed for additional privacy and security.

The interior, while incredibly bare-bones, is surprisingly light and cosy thanks to the shoji paper doors on the front of the unit. The Arumi no Koya comes minus any kind of fittings besides a simple wooden ladder, but with its high ceiling and private loft space up above, this could easily be used as anything from a simple, single-person weekend dwelling to a artist’s studio or office space.

▼ You might want to add a few more bits and pieces to make it more homely…

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▼ The shoji paper doors allow light to pour in while giving the owner privacy

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Next up is a design that fans of Japanese interiors will no doubt immediately fall in love with. The Koruku no Koya (“cork hut”) was designed by English product and furniture designer Jasper Morrison and features, as its name implies, cork cladding on its exterior as well as a narrow, distinctive Japanese-style deck which surrounds the building.

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Morrison’s design features a simple kitchen area, dining space and spacious living/sleeping area fitted with soft tatami-mat flooring, perfect for lazing around on while the wood-burning fire in the corner gets the place nice and warm.

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The third and final structure, Ki no Koya (“wooden hut”), was designed by Japan’s own Naoto Fukusawa and is perhaps the most livable of the three designs, even for those unfamiliar with the tiny house movement.

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The interior features a kitchenette, bathtub, wood-burning stove and dining area. The entire front of the house, meanwhile, is covered in glass to allow for plenty of natural light to enter. It looks wonderfully snug and inviting and we desperately wish we lived here.

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They may appear unfeasibly small to some of our readers in the west, but in actuality many of the “one-room” apartments let out in Japan’s urban hubs offer less floorspace than the Muji’s two larger weekend retreats here, so with some careful planning and cutting back on one’s worldly possessions living in one would be quite possible.

“Nakanosawagawa Tree House” by Japanese architect Ryo Yamada

Man builds perfect, tiny Japanese house that could be yours for $70,000

RocketNews 24:

In this consumerist culture of ours, it seems like the never-ending scramble to acquire more and bigger worldly goods and possessions is becoming increasingly futile as economic issues tend to scupper every attempt we make at achieving those perhaps impossible ideals. It’s no wonder, then, that people are increasingly turning to minimalism and simplicity in their lives and in their homes. The Japanese aesthetic concept of wabi-sabi extols the virtues of living a life that is simple, rustic and close to nature, and we’ve been seeing elements of this start to crop up increasingly in the west, with the recent adoption of tiny, eco-friendly houses providing a possible alternative to an energy-guzzling modern pile of bricks.

Today we’d like to show you around one such teensy home, modelled around a traditional Japanese house and encompassing only 10 x 20 feet of space. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this mini-house, though, is that it was all made by the hands of one man – American Chris Heininge.

According to his website, Chris Heininge spent 20 years travelling around Asia as a Christian missionary, visiting countries such as India, Hong Kong, Macau and Japan. During this time he became interested in Japanese construction and design, and eventually went into the family business of construction himself, building several “tiny houses” inspired by the architecture and craftsmanship he’d seen on his travels. His latest creation is this miniature Japanese “Tiny House”, which for the asking price of $70,000 comes complete with a bathroom, sleeping loft and kitchen/dining room, and also features a simulated fireplace!

Let’s take a look inside!

We’re loving the simple design inside, and that seat looks super-cosy!

Check out the simulated fireplace! There’s also plenty of storage space available, with drawers built right into the stairs!

While the inside is undoubtedly pretty snug, it’s really not much more of a squeeze than your average Tokyo apartment, with the added benefit of being able to up sticks and move to another patch if you don’t like your neighbours!

The bathtub is just the right size for one!

We’d prefer a little more elbow room at the sink, but this really has everything you need.

The replica Japanese Tiny House shown in the pictures is one of a kind, and is currently the only Tiny House that Heininge has for sale. According to his website, the house’s eventual buyer will receive everything shown in the pictures, and he will personally deliver the house to the buyer provided they live within 50 miles of Portland, Oregon.

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Kal Penn addresses DePauw’s Class of 2014

Actor Kal Penn of Harold and Kumar and House fame spoke to graduates of DePauw Sunday with both humor and sage wisdom.

He apologized to the parents in the audience, explaining he was not CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

He also surmised that many of the graduates were hung over based on what he saw walking through campus the night before. “I’m specifically speaking to row 12,” he said.

But Penn didn’t go all Kumar on the graduates.

He gave them some sound advice about what to expect after leaving campus.

Continue to read books, encourage the arts, talk with people who disagree with you, do crazy things, be selfless, share moments of love, remember what matters, do not make it rain,” he said.

He recalls being bitter being relegated to go-fer jobs as he tried to make a career in Hollywood, but he says now “I realize I learned a lot. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a waste of time, I just had the wrong attitude.”

Penn even warned them about some of the content they see on TV.

Contrary to what TV sells us, fame is not a profession. Be careful not to confuse fame and status and money with actual things that actually matter — like happiness and humanity and kindness.”

Link

Kal Penn to star in TV drama ‘Battle Creek’

 

House alum Kal Penn is reuniting with hit medical drama’s creator David Shore on Battle Creek. Penn is the first actor cast in the high-profile CBS series from Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and Shore.

The project, from Sony TV, centers on a detective and an FBI agent with very different world views who are teamed up to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, MI. Penn will play another local detective who initially has reservations about the newly arrived FBI agent. Penn, repped by Gersh, Industry Entertainment and Michael Fuller, explored multiple pilot offers before setting onBattle Creek because of his relationship with Shore on House where Penn co-starred for two seasons before leaving for a position in the White House.

Battle Creek brings him back at CBS where he starred on comedy series We Are Men this past season and previously recurred on How I Met Your Mother. Originally created by Gilligan at CBS in 2002, Battle Creek was tweaked by him and Shore. The two executive produce, with Shore serving as showrunner.

Check out this link:

Kal Penn to star in TV drama ‘Battle Creek’