Brooklyn-based architectural design firm SO-IL (and one of Curbed’s 2016 Groundbreakers) has installed a prototype of a sustainable housing concept in a small courtyard in Milan for Salone del Mobile.
Conceived as part of the Dezeen x MINI Living Initiative, an exploration of how design can contribute to a brighter urban future, the Breathe installation is a narrow, cylindrical, multi-level, modular structure featuring mesh walls and a plant-topped roof. A spiral staircase winds up the floors, which can accommodate up to three people and be configured into six rooms.
Breathe is not your typical house. While it includes a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and common spaces, it does not necessarily offer any privacy.
A mesh exterior coated with PVC and filters and neutralizes the air that enters the “resource-conscious” home, while interior walls made of permeable textile separate spaces and allow plenty of light to enter the interiors.
On the roof, greenery helps improve air quality—an important consideration in high-density cities—while a rainwater collection tank connects to a transparent drain that supplies the bathroom and kitchen. Easily dismantled and assembled in other locations, with an interchangeable exterior skin, Breathe is an innovative and adaptable model for sustainable living in compact cities.
"Breathe brings its residents into direct contact with their environment," SO-IL co-director Ilias Papageorgiou told Dezeen. "By making living an active experience, the installation encourages visitors to confront our tendency to take resources for granted."