In the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan, TBWAHAKUHODO, a Japanese advertising firm, initiated the Mirai Nihon project to design a house that could function and provide comfort in the event that existing lifelines of gas, water, electricity and telecommunications were no longer available. The agency worked with 20 companies to come up with Mirai Nihon (“Japan’s Future”), an off-grid house in which both technology and nature co-exist.
In order to make Mirai Nihon a reality, TBWA\HAKUHODO developed a platform to identify new technologies and innovations that had not yet been commercialized. Next, the firm partnered with Nissan, maker of the electric vehicle Leaf, to establish a design that would be both sustainable and comfortable for its occupants. Other organizations, including NEC and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency also participated in the project.
Solor Design Lab was the brains behind the prefabricated house, a combination of Japanese design, aesthetics and maximum space efficiency. A Nissan Leaf, when not providing transportation, powers the home via its battery. A home energy management system (HEMS) incorporates smart grid technology and allows the home’s owner to gauge and control the consumption of energy throughout the house. Even Mirai Nihon’s water system works completely free from local infrastructure; it uses a seawater purification system that TBWA\HAKUHODO says can filter out heavy metals and radioactive materials.
Mirai Nihon is not just a project to prepare for the next calamity to hit Japan; TBWA\HAKUHODO and its partners believe the house could work in cities and villages around the world, providing shelter while new sustainable technologies can scale and become more cost-effective.
Photos courtesy TBWA\HAKUHODO