One SQM House NCAD

by NCAD, The Goethe-Institut & Van Bo Le-Mentzel


The One SQM House

In 2012 Berlin-based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel created the One SQM House, a DIY structure which offers one square metre of floor area that can be used for any purpose imagined. Standing at two metres tall, it can be used upright or laid down flat for sleeping. As the house is on wheels it can be moved easily to any location. Van Bo describes the One SQM House as a place where “no one other than I, myself, can decide what happens with this one square meter of mine in the world. It’s the only square meter in the world where I can decide what direction the window looks in, what direction the door opens in, what neighbours I have.”

Van Bo Le-Metzel

Van Bo Le-Mentzel has been described as a ‘guerilla furniture designer’ for his work with Hartz IV Moebel. In 2010 Van Bo started Hartz IV Moebel as a social DIY-Experiment. He believes that the world gets better if we “build more – buy less”. Inspired by the Bauhaus, DIY culture and the maker movement, Van Bo creates plans for beautiful, affordable furniture and releases them for free on his website. He has created a subculture of DIY enthusiasts, who are constructing beautiful simple furniture at very low cost.

The Project

Product Design students from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), alongside representatives from the Ballymum Rediscovery Centre, will work with Van Bo on a week long project to create a series of One SQM Houses. The brief for the project is to work as groups to design a house for a specific purpose and context of choice. The theme of the project is participation. The students are expected to identify an opportunity for design that reflects this theme by effectively researching and understanding their users through community engagement. Each group will be required to consider the One SQM House as an existing product that they must refine and develop further to meet the needs of their chosen user group or target audience. On the final day the groups will take their completed houses into the public domain to engage with the community for whom they were designed. The project culminates with a presentation of the houses and the videos during a public talk with Van Bo on the NCAD campus. This is a collaborative project between NCAD, The Goethe-Institut and Designer Van Bo Le-Mentzel.

Public Talk
Date: Thursday 25 April
Time: 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Venue: Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8
All welcome and admission is free

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