All it takes to prompt a flood of emotions about what it means to be sheltered in a safe, warm and comfortable place of one’s own is a simple five-sided shape: an outline of an archetypal house. Of course, not all homes are ‘house-shaped,’ yet this symbol is almost universally recognized for all the hopes and expectations we humans have placed upon our domiciles for millennia. It’s so ubiquitous and familiar that it’s become a pictogram, so it’s not surprising that the shape shows up as a conscious choice in many advertisements and designs that aim to invoke this emotional connection.
This creation by Thai studio Partly Cloudy Design almost looks like a child’s toy at first glance, as if a modern minimalist dollhouse were placed on stilts. ‘Baan’ (which translates to ‘home’ in Thai language) by Bangkok-based designers Paitoon Keatkeereerut and Chawin Hanjing will almost make you wish you had tiny furniture and dolls to set up within its cozy walls, yet it’s not made for play so much as showing off your finest kitchenware.
Made from a rounded steel frame in black powder coat finish and solid ash wood, the unusual cupboard features a chimney-shaped tissue dispenser, paper towel holder, utensil organizers and a condiment basket in one house-shaped volume, with another holding plates and teacups.
The third volume offers stemware racks for three wine glasses and niches for two wine bottles, and the fourth has open shelf space for the items of your choice with a chimney that can store long, narrow items like chopsticks or taper candles.
Every little detail is carefully considered, from the garage-like tunnels holding forks and spoons to the arrangement of the wine glasses, which is meant to mimic the shape of a chandelier. Tiny stairs and ladders connecting the top level to the middle shelves are a fun touch.
Winner of the Platinum A’ Design Award, ‘Baan’ references the symbolic meaning of a classic house shape within the very heart of any home. The designers take inspiration from the warm, intimate atmosphere of a family dinner, using the house shape to convey the emotions and rituals we associate with these meals. The cupboard was developed in response to a challenge asking designers to prompt an emotional response from viewers using shape and narrative in a physical object.
The designers, who graduated from Rangsit University in Bangkok and received their graduate degrees in interior design from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, started off producing the ‘Baan’ cupboard as a custom piece for select shops in Thailand, adding and subtracting various elements as desired by the customers.
As demand has grown, they’ve shipped iterations of the cupboard all over the world and have created a few companion pieces that place the ‘home’ in a neighborhood context. The ‘Library’ is a particularly cool add-on, offering display space for books and a few staggered shelves. Other variations include a half-sized, two-column design and a ‘parking garage’ shelf with a niche for a trash can and pantry items. Some owners choose to stick flowers in the chimneys and cookbooks in the plate niches—the usage is ultimately up to you.