Pre-Fabulous

Monday, January 30th, 2012

by Stephen Killion

Iceland is a country filled with lush landscapes, volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls. But being an island nation means resources are scarce, something native Icelanders Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson are cognizant of in their architecture practice. “We want our work to represent how we choose to live in this world: maximize materials, minimize waste,” Thorsteinsson says. “We find value in unique materials and find ways to use, reuse and re-reuse.”

With their Santa Monica-based firm, Minarc, the husband-and-wife team has taken this idea of minimizing waste as a statement of purpose. By drawing inspiration from the beauty of its homeland, the firm has made a name for itself by exposing clients to their culture of efficiency. “Everything around us is manufactured, from your pen to your car,” Thorsteinsson says. “Nevertheless, homes are still built the traditional way. It does not make sense. Manufacturing homes is long overdue. The future is in the prefabricated homes.”

Minarc’s solution to the global demand for affordable, sustainable housing is something called Mnm.MOD. The Mnm.MOD system creates unique solutions for each client by offering a library of sustainable options for them to select from. These pieces and parts are then shipped to a factory for assembly just like automobiles.

As minimalists, both Ingjaldsdóttir and Thorsteinsson focus on “designing multifunctional spaces that eliminate unnecessary layering.” “We like to use things in the most organic form,” Thorsteinsson says. Through its systematic approach to home production, Minarc has been able to streamline the manufacturing process and be even more efficient at minimizing waste.

Photos 1-3: Minarc's Mnm.MOD house system

Photos 4-6: The Horowitz Residence, another Mnm.MOD home

All photos by Art Gray

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