Cramped. Confined. Too cozy for its own good. No matter how much you doll one up, there’s only so much one can do in the square footage department when transforming a single standard shipping container into a comfortable living space.

And then there’s Dwell.  Hong Kong- and Australia-based firm G-Pod (certainly not to be confused with a supplier of russet potatoes or a Connecticut dumpster company) recently launched a handsome on- or off-grid retreat capable of expanding to nearly three times its original size thanks to several nifty pull-out sections and a fold-down deck that spans the entire length of the container.

Touted as “a benchmark in transportable accommodation,” the floor space of each 20-foot Dwell unit measures 12.5-square-meters (135-square-feet) when in “transport mode.” When the shipping container shell is situated and ready to be fully “unpacked,” the floor space can be expanded to a little under 35-square-meters (about 375-square-feet). A sizeable chunk of the floor space — an additional 16.8-square-meters — is dedicated to outdoor living. Just think of Dwell as a giant piece of transformer furniture; more specifically, a giant piece of transformer furniture that can be manually converted in a little less than three hours.

As mentioned, the protruding pull-out sections of Dwell — the bedroom, bathroom, storage and a cozy little seating nook — can be manually set into place although an optional hydraulic system is available for impatient types. The fold-down deck, which comes complete with a powder-coated aluminum bench seat and dainty Webber grill, can also be manually lowered through a spring compression system.

Sustainability and (optional) self-sufficiency were integral in the design of Dwell. The unit’s generously sized deck is shaded by a solar panel-clad canopy situated above a canvas awning while the top of the container itself is home to a green roof and rainwater collection system (a “rainwater bladder” is tucked away on the underside of the unit.) The interior is chock-full of space-saving gadgets and appliances while the built-in furnishings and flooring is predominately bamboo. The lighting throughout is LED-based and the commode, naturally, is of the composting variety.

The G-pod uses solar energy and is equipped to capture and store water and hence can be located and occupied with minimal impact on the surrounding environment. It is constructed from recycled, recyclable and organic materials. Its ability to be readily relocated means that sites can easily be returned to their original condition at the completion of the work activity whose purpose they serve.
While geared primarily as a studio-sized vacation home that can be easily transported and unpacked in far-flung locales, variations of the basic unit are available allowing it to be used as a backyard guest house or office, emergency shelter, or remote command center. As reported by Gizmag, Dwell has already entered production and will soon be available for distribution; the most basic 20-foot unit without all the bells and whistles will set you back $49,000. In addition to Dwell, G-Pod has developed a retail-centric pop-up container structure dubbed, fittingly, Pop.

Lots more over at G-Pod.

Via [Designboom], [Gizmodo]

Related on MNN:

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.