On November 20, Kazuyo Sejima, Shigeru Ban, Sou Fujimoto, Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, and six other renowned architects will launch the results of a project kept under wraps for months: a line of breed-specific dog houses commissioned by Muji design director Kenya Hara, who has also designed an abode (for the Toy Poodle). Some of the environments—"house" is a loose term here—will be sold through an accompanying website. Others are meant to inspire DIY copies: download a plan for free, make the house with materials you have access to, and upload a photograph of the results to the website.
"There’s no relationship between the dogs and the architects," says Hara (speaking through a translator), who tapped his high-flying circle of friends to participate. "It’s not like we thought they looked alike, because that would frankly be a little rude." Far from a passionate dog lover, Hara explains that his focus on dogs was somewhat random, that the project could just as easily have been architecture for swimming or sleeping. The dog houses, while each very different, are meant to elevate the canine to human status: "In a human home, dogs are always forced to look up. It makes their necks really tired," says the designer, who also runs Hara Design Institute. "I know people are thinking the next extension is going to be architecture for cats but that’s totally not going to happen."
Hara does not own a dog because, he says, he travels too much.
Protoypes of the dog houses will be exhibited at Design Miami, December 5-9, 2012.