Jono Williams has built the world's most coveted man cave in New Zealand. After shooting the breeze one night with his mate Grant Ramsay, a mechatronics engineer, the Kiwi inventor committed to building the ultimate app-controlled treehouse. After working on the design for several months, he ditched the treehouse idea for something better: a friggin' 'Skysphere' in the middle of nowhere with a room full of custom furniture, multicolor LED lights, and a built-in beer dispenser, all operated by voice commands. The 270 square-foot Android-controlled man cave pitched 33 feet off the ground is completely solar-powered and has a carefully-engineered window that offers 360 degree views. Visitors whose fingerprints have been recorded are greeted by name when they come in the door. A slew of its other slick features are detailed after the jump, but here's what we found most impressive: Williams came up with the design and ordered all of the materials before he even knew how to weld. He started this DIY project from scratch, teaching himself everything he needed to know along the way.
Like many of the world’s great projects, The Skysphere was dreamed up in a night and completed 3,000 man hours and 3 years later. “The idea was conceived one night while having a few beers,” Jono tells Inhabitat. “I literally shook my mates [sic] hand and said I’d do it.” And he meant it. A full time Plastics Engineer and Graphic Designer and the director of his own I.T company, Jono still managed to find time to work on the tower and attend classes to learn the various skills he would need to make it structurally sound. After finalizing the design, which includes a long column, two platforms, and vertical hoops that create triangular supports to hold up the floors and roof, he imported 4 tonnes of steel from China and then welded all the pieces together himself. He also designed his own multicolor LED lights and solar strips and had them custom-made in China as well.
The Skysphere had to be very carefully designed for safety. With help from Grant and others, Jono learned everything he needed to know about foundation design, structural engineering, earthquake simulation, and wind simulation. The window, for example, is made with polycarbonate, which Jono says shrinks and expands more than steel, so he had to engineer a special seal system with 2-inch flexibility to ensure the 360 degree window can withstand high-force winds. The window is 6.5 feet tall and has a diameter of 46 feet and offers the kind of views you can only find at the top of a mountain. With the basics covered, Jono then moved on to the perks that make this the kind of man cave James Bond would love.
We asked Jono to share his version of the perfect man cave. He said, “the ultimate man cave to me is to have beers served to your hand while you’re sitting on the couch. The arm rest has a coaster that goes down then comes back up with a beer on it, a good entertainment system, playstation, all being 10m up in the air with a cool view.”
This helps to explain the beer dispenser built into the custom curved couch, which voices an alarm when the beers are getting low. Jono even programmed the system to text his girlfriend when the beers run out so she can pick some up on her way over (it’s nice to know girls are invited to the man cave.) All of the internal functions can be operated by voice commands. Want to switch from blue lighting to red? Simply say so and it will be done. The doors are motorized too, and if it gets hot inside, the Android-controlled computer system automatically opens the top door to release excess heat. Reached by a ladder inside the column, the Skysphere is fully equipped with high speed internet, a Miracast projector and a wireless sound system. There’s even a rooftop stargazing platform.
Perhaps you’re thinking this is a wasteful endeavor, that it’s not worth the $50,000 Jono spent to realize the project. Or that the materials he used are not the most sustainable. And maybe there’s some truth to that. But eventually he plans to relocate the tower to a seaside location and build his home downstairs, probably for much less than most contemporary homes cost to build, and it does get all of its energy from the sun. Plus, Jono built this himself. It’s hard not to be impressed by that kind of dedication, and maybe even a tad jealous.
All images via Jono Williams