On nature’s doorstep
“The bigger the better” is a popular phrase in the US. When a start-up in Berlin decided to defy the trend, the result was a sophisticated “less is more” concept of living known as the “coodo”. Since then, the company has continued to grow along with its idea.
That was eight years ago. The story begins in Berlin-Mitte, where one of its residents is waving goodbye to the concrete jungle. Stepping outside into nature. Suddenly, the man can’t believe his eyes: he realizes that his city is on the banks of Europe’s largest network of inland waterways. And discovers the huge expanse of woodland before him. The lush meadows as well.
A very personal oasis?
In an instant, and despite his past love of the city, Mark Dare Schmiedel conjures up a vision that remains firmly lodged in his mind. It is the moment that spawns his new concept, named the coodo.
The roots of this concept are found in the answers to a series of questions that Mark Dare Schmiedel asked himself back then:
- Why can’t we have mobile houses that can be placed on solid ground or even on water?
- Or houses that seamlessly blend into their surroundings?
- Why can’t we have buildings that can be utilized as a weekend home as well as a permanent residence?
- Wouldn’t that be great?
He remembers: “I was certain that a life closer to nature has a positive result on everybody. Just like it had on me.” It was the idea behind a new living concept – and no, we aren’t talking about camping, glamping or anything like that!
Lofts to go
These “coodos” are more about creating mobile residential units that tick all the boxes on the one hand, while also – in particular – integrating nature as a living space. In other words, fully fledged houses with other important aims.
Incidentally, this thought is reflected in the company name: “Lofts to go”, which already alludes to the mobile nature of the modules. At the same time, however, it also refers to the fact that the loft is the surrounding area in this case. Schmiedel: “Basically, nature is the loft.”
For Schmiedel it was especially important to offer an open and spacious living experience despite the minimal form. He therefore searched for specific possibilities that would allow the living space to merge seamlessly with its surroundings.
It’s not a house – it’s a coodo
The solution? A glass front extending from floor to ceiling. The integrated folding and sliding system enables this front to open onto the outdoor area and allows the inhabitants to feel the proximity of nature. “You are inside, but yet still outside,” enthuses Schmiedel. “And you experience truly limitless space!” A coodo isn’t really a house, it is a coodo.
Having said that, they certainly don’t all look the same! Customers can choose between a plain coodo as an empty shell, a basic coodo with a bathroom, or full living with kitchen and furniture. Whatever your choice, the colour and materials can be selected individually.
Not much room, but lots of space
Interior expert Catharina Schierbeck was responsible for the interior design. “Her aim was to provide as much storage space as possible, while creating a minimalist, appealing environment,” says Schmiedel. High-quality technical equipment is indispensable here, as is a sustainable overall concept.
The attractive mini-houses therefore create a flexible, mobile and intelligent residential unit that can be positioned and enjoyed almost everywhere in an individual design. “With its retro-futuristic qualities, this transportable architecture can be set in an urban environment, on a roof, in forests or even mountains,” writes one trade journal.
This is already happening: these small residential units are now scattered around the globe and are also used for business reasons.
The coodo for all
Where planning permission has been difficult to obtain for certain plots of land, the coodos are livening things up. Any perceived attachment with the land has been finally severed by the special wheels that are available as a design option and create legal advantages.
Even though practical and sales considerations were an integral part of the thinking behind the design of the stylish cocoons, the main objective is always to make the coodo as attractive as possible.
This means that the rounded edges, robust walls and large expanses of glass are essentials that cannot be changed. And it requires all the heating, cooling and power generation systems to be concealed in the floor, ceiling and interior walls.
Even installation of the recently integrated smart living components by Sensorberg is invisible and meets every possible need, according to Sensorberg CEO Michael von Roeder: “Our technology turns each individual coodo into a completely networked room that functions independently of location and is completely uncomplicated to control via a smartphone. For example, users can switch on the heating before they get home, while still out and about.” Wherever their home happens to be just then.
We want the coodos to make the world a little bit better.
Mark Dare Schmiedel, “Lofts to go” founder
So one thing is clear: the “Lofts to go” team is trying to keep pace with all of the latest developments in the living domain. It goes without saying that sustainability is a big focus. The boss himself explains that the whole development is entirely centred on recycling, the “cradle-to-cradle’ approach, i.e. working according to an intelligent ecocycle, with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
Sustainability as a top priority
A hybrid system for the optional integration of regenerative energies is therefore a natural choice, together with efficient thermal insulation and the use of materials produced locally.
We finish with Mark Dare Schmiedel’s basic philosophy from eight years ago: “We want to tell people that they don’t need to get so stressed about their everyday lives, but instead make more use of their free time – especially outside surrounded by nature. We want the coodos to make the world a little bit better.”
Text: Johannes Stühlinger
Translation: Rosemary Bridger-Lippe
Images: coodo; Arnt Haug