25th July 2018

I’ve been wanting to introduce some dog-related content to Copperline for the longest time, but one thing has always held me back: how do you feature canine products on a design blog without them looking out of place? But to me, I don’t separate interesting design for dogs from interesting design for a home – interesting design, well considered design, design that engages you, that marries form and function – it’s all relevant, regardless of the end user. And, obviously, the things we buy for our canine companions are also the things we’re using, or living with, every day.

So you can see why this product, The Dog Room, caught my eye. Interestingly, this was also the first collaborative product from the Melbourne-based design studio Made by Pen. Created as a platform for Australian designers and architects to deliver their vision to a global stage, Made By Pen was founded by Michael Mabuti and Susan Chung. The seeds were sown when the duo started their search for an improved dog kennel design, and they worked on The Dog Room with architect Michael Ong of the award winning MODO (Michael Ong Design Office).As Mabuti and Chung say: “The three of us had this discussion about how there are no designer dog kennels that fit in seamlessly with existing architectural spaces, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. We knew there was a definite need for it.” And so The Dog Room was born. Designed with simplified living in mind, the concept is inspired by the basic archetype of a house complete with pitched roof, and has the pared back simplicity of a child’s typical line drawn representation of a home.

Constructed of a lightweight e-coat aluminium frame with a choice of either plywood or OSB, The Dog Room panels slot together seamlessly. The ‘room’ also comes with a bamboo charcoal foam mattress with covers in a choice of olive green, pink musk or koala grey.

The Dog Room picked up the Silver Prize European Product Design Award last year in the category of Flora and fauna/Devices, gadgets or products not made for humans. Would I use this? Or, more to the point, would Harris use this? As it’s all very well for me to choose something minimal and architectural that fits in with an aesthetic I appreciate, but would Harris enjoy it?

As long as there was a comfy mattress inside (koala grey gets my vote), I think he’d enjoy being tucked up cosily into his own wee den on a chilly day, and with the half-front panel and the circular openings cut into the rear panel, he’d still be keeping an eye on everything that was going on. This design taps into that instinctive desire to retreat from the world into a snug space, which is also why it works.

See The Dog Room here.

All photography via Made by Pen.

Follow Made by Pen on Instagram.