- A simple outhouse with a spectacular lighting system that mimics a fire -
An old client contacted us for a rather simple commission: to design an outhouse for his summer house. Well, design is perhaps an overstatement since he already knew what kind of look he wanted, a simple no-frills red shed, and it had to come up really quick since the former outhouse had burned down to the ground due to a party-related accident. The former outhouse was situated in a forest and had no electricity, so candles were the only visual aid for the guests to orientate themselves. We tried to propose a bolder version of the traditional Swedish shed to the client , but he had already decided to go for a modest look and he didn’t want to wait for some architect to sketch for a couple of weeks while being without a proper toilet. Construction started the week after our talk and while the frame came up we still were looking for a loophole in the commission to turn the rather dull design into something more interesting. We then found out that the client had contracted an electrician so the new outhouse would finally have light to prevent another fire in the future. We felt that this was our chance to give the outhouse a twist, so we quickly proposed an automated light in the form of a great fire that will lit up every time someone comes close to the shed at night. The fire also had the great bonus that it scares off deers and rabbits from the forest that earlier had a tendency to feast at the man’s crops next to his house and that also carries around with hundreds of ticks that can cause serious illness to humans. To create the fire I was heavily influenced by my six-year old son’s current passion for creating super Mario characters with fuse beads which is a pretty interesting material where plastic beads are arranged in a pattern on a peg board and then melted together with a clothes iron on both sides. The fuse beads also make for a great medium for a backlit light system since the beads are hollow and change luminosity depending on how the sun hits the material. To create the motif we did a photomontage of a fire which would fit the sheds dimension and then we converted the fire into pixels which became the guide for the recycled beads. The fire took forever to make and could probably have been done easier, but the effect was better than we thought. In fact it was so good that a neighbor from across the lake called the fire department. After that we had to inform every possible neighbor that we had made a burning house so they wouldn’t call the fire brigade every time the client had to go to the toilet at night. The outhouse became a great success for the client’s guests and it almost feels like they drink more nowadays so they could go to the toilet more often.