Is there anything more ridiculous than a fancy dog house? Anyone who spends US$325,000 on a dog house for their pooches (as hotel heiress/socialite/eternal supermarket tabloid punchline Paris Hilton famously did) is immediately ridiculed for being far too foolish with their finances – and rightfully so (I mean, most of us love animals, but for US$325,000 you can buy more than two human-sized houses in Southland if you’re going by the average cost of a home down there).
But let’s also take a look at the other end of the doggie domicile spectrum. Far more common are doghouses made of random pieces of wood nailed together, crates, or simply cardboard or sticks. It’s pretty awful. Put yourself in a dog’s shoes – er, paws – for a moment: who would want to live in a cardboard box that was so small they didn’t even have room to turn around? No-one who wasn’t a hard-core masochist.
Given the sad state of most dog houses, it’s little surprise the term is synonymous with shame and disgrace. We’ve all heard the phrase “in the doghouse,” and it’s never used as a compliment.
Deeply disturbed by the squalid dog housing on offer, the creative team behind Barkitecture are aiming to address the canine housing crisis with the launch of what they claim is the world’s first affordable designer doghouse. Made from a lightweight, durable and non-toxic material, Barkitecture’s range of fully-customisable, insulated dog houses come in a range of sizes and can be ordered in three colours.
Head designer Oscar Fernandez says the inspiration for Barkitecture came from a lack of stylish options to house his best friend, Momo (a three-year-old Greyhound). “When I started looking for an outdoor crib befitting Momo’s distinct personality, I couldn’t find a thing that I liked, or could afford,” he says. “So I got together with another couple of dog and design lovers and we created Barkitecture. Our ambition is to create a durable and stylish house that reflects the personality of dogs and their owners at a price everyone can afford. In our dream world, all dogs will live in homes just as stylish as their owners.”
Fernandez, who's also an industrial designer at Auckland-based advertising and design firm True (Idealog spoke to some other True team members about Barkitecture last year when we profiled their swanky new office), adds that the Barkitecture design team drew upon interior and architectural design references from around the world, as well as tool-free, flat-pack design to create abodes for Afghans, Affenpinschers, Akita Inus, and more. “Dog houses can be quite considerable in size,” he says. “They should be celebrated and accentuate the styling of the inhabitants and their surroundings.”
High-quality homes for Huskies and Huntaways sounds fine, but it’s of course a claim many, many other human designers have made before. But Fernandez is backing up his company with a claim that may or may not be interpreted as barking mad. “I’m actually considering making one that I can live in.”