The house doesn’t even seem to exist at first sight. It blends into the surroundings so well that as a visitor you might easily walk past. Yet, when you discover that the breath-taking view is only a camouflage for the small but perfect living space, you’ll never want to leave.
ÖÖD is a simple yet unique design hotel concept founded by brothers Andreas and Jaak Tiik just a year and a half ago. Mirrored glass creates walls on three sides that allow the 18 square meter house to all but disappear into nature. According to Andreas Tiik, this was the intention − to blend in with nature as much as possible. The same goes for the indoor experience − an uninterrupted view of 270 degrees, yet privacy granted.
The brothers, Jaak with a background in construction and Andreas in advertising and marketing, were looking for a hotel stay in nature when the idea hit home. Everything on the Estonian market was either targeted at larger groups or the small-sized housing was of inferior quality − no great selection. So the idea was born: to create a form that offers a great experience of nature as well as a luxurious accommodation and design. Andreas explains: “The design of the ÖÖD house is simple and harmonic without competing with the surrounding nature. The ideal location is a natural surrounding while the house emphasizes everything around it and stays hidden itself. The more beautiful the surroundings, the more beautiful the house.”
A dragon in the night sky
This is the latest star of the prefab houses universe. Since the first reviews of ÖÖD were published in international design magazines and newspapers last summer, more than 4500 requests have poured in from all around the world. Andreas says: “The product is like a dragon that flies ahead of us at a speed that is impossible to catch up with. We have spent exactly 300 euros on marketing, the house seems to be doing the rest all by itself.”
So, now the small production located in the southern-most town of Estonia, Võru, is faced with a demand it cannot possibly meet. “If it were a simple design product like a wallet or a chair we would just be shipping the goods. Now, without an existing sales network it has been difficult to turn the requests into business,” says Andreas. “We have started from zero and are just building up the business. We are very grateful to the many Estonian companies that have been of great help. A simple example − for a fair in the UK we were able to borrow all the interior, materials and tools from Estonian companies. Luckily, we sold the show house to a customer in Ireland, complete with the design and interior, so everyone benefitted.”
The first show house was erected in Estonia a year ago. Now there are several in beautiful natural locations as well as a small hotel project in the making at the seaside not far from Tallinn. This is also a pilot for assembly on-site; some of the most spectacular locations tend to be remote and inaccessible for the truck and crane needed to lift the entire 6000 kg prefab house.
The original concept of ÖÖD is to be an exclusive hotel accommodation unit complete with a bathroom and a kitchenette. It feels amazingly spacious due to the seamless glass walls and smart interior design solution. Now clients have started to shape their own functions for the ÖÖD basic design. Andreas explains: “We have a request from Hawaii for an ÖÖD surf board rental shop, from a Paris fashion boutique for a presentation venue of a special collection. A Swedish artist wants to build his art studio in an ÖÖD. Audi is planning an ÖÖD suite of three to four modules for its VIP clients next to their UK race track for the launch of its new model.” The list of potential functions is endless.
The first international projects currently in production include ÖÖD houses built for Ireland, UK, Iceland, Italy and California. All of these should go live within the coming months. According to Andreas, most of the requests originate from the USA, Australia and Canada. However, so far ÖÖD has found retail partners mainly in Europe − UK, Ireland, Iceland and France.
With a strong emphasis on design, ÖÖD’s ambition is to launch an ÖÖD Design Studio − a platform where clients can choose pieces of Estonian design for their ÖÖD house, thus delivering a personalized product while also acting as a doorman to Estonian design.
Andreas says that challenges have come from different areas throughout the process, but currently the biggest challenge is to establish a network of strong international resellers. He anticipates product development as the next challenge − how to realize the best of the many ideas?
The Sunday Times called ÖÖD “a space-age pod, the shimmering highlight of the Surface & Materials show.”
New York Magazine discovered on their design-hunting trail that “this prefab mirrored house can be plopped almost anywhere.”
Source: Life in Estonia