Wake up to the faintest light in the predawn sky overwhelming the last morning star. Climb out of bed, close the hatch and slide open the walls. Roll out your mat to salute the first rays of the morning sun. Brew up a coffee and climb up to the roof. Survey the environment, choose an adventure. Go out, lock up. Return, open, grab a book, doze off in the hammock. Fill the tub, open the dividers, submerge in privacy, refresh. Uncork a bottle, back to the roof. Watch the daylight fade, share thoughts, feelings, aspirations. Crawl down to bed, pull open the hatch, close the walls and dividers. Open the roof panels and count the stars until you lose track.In times of confinement at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, how many of us dream of such a house?
Casa Ojalá, the much-heralded award-winning creation from architect Beatrice Bonzanigo, is a small, 27 square meter house with more than 1,000 interior configurations working in synchrony without ever changing the original structure and shape. It is designed to give guests a distinct and exclusive experience: control over their environment while deeply immersed in their surroundings. Casa Ojalá adapts to suit the needs of all who seek it out allowing the client to choose the woods, fabrics and finishes throughout, making each Casa Ojalá completely individual and helping it to blend in seamlessly to the place where it will stand. After production, components are delivered onsite and assembled by the Casa Ojalá team, completing a fully white-glove service.Casa Ojalá has two bedrooms (one double and one single bed), a bathroom, a rooftop terrace, and a living space, all of which can – in fact – be continuously transformed into one another. A bedroom becomes a living room, the living room becomes an extension of the bathroom, the house becomes an outdoor platform, etc. The flexibility of the space is made possible by a manual mechanical system composed of pulleys and cranks, that controls sliding walls (made in fabric and wood) and movable floor and ceiling panels. Built-in central furniture divided into seven slices provides essential functions (wardrobe, bedside tables, bookshelf, sink) and can be pulled out for use or hidden under the floor for storage.Once assembled, as the house is controlled through its manual mechanical system, it does not need any external assistance. It includes a rainwater collection system and can be equipped with photovoltaic panels and systems for handling clean, grey and black water for truly “off-grid” locations. It is best suited for mild climates but includes a bio-ethanol stove to knock off an evening chill.
Beyond the day to day mutations – fully controlled by the guest – nearly all of the surfaces: metal, wood and fabric are customizable for each individual Casa Ojalá to recall local traditions and motifs. These options, combined with a choice in environmentally sensitive and sustainable fixtures and furnishings, allow Casa Ojalá to perfectly assimilate with its intended destination, unique as its owner and location.
Made in Italy: Prototype in progress
Italy is renowned worldwide for its design, raw materials and superb craftsmanship and Casa Ojalá raises the bar yet again. The simplicity and elegance of her groundbreaking patented design belie the intricacies of her meticulously laid out mechanical systems and the infinite possibilities encapsulated in its mere 27 square meter footprint.
Detailed engineering work to transform the design into executable drawings began in earnest late summer 2019 by a team of structural and mechanical engineers based in Brescia, together with Casa Ojalá team. A complex 3-dimensional model was developed allowing the design to be tested for strength and durability. Each of the mechanical systems was laid out to the millimetre, ensuring smooth functionality and feasibility as they work together in such a confined space. Presently, a general contractor based in Lissone, outside Milan, is transforming the drawings into the finest steel and wood components as Casa Ojalá begins to take shape in their workshop.In parallel, the Casa Ojalá team has been travelling far and wide across Italy to find the finest suppliers for additional components: bathroom fixtures, woods, mechanical systems, bedding, fabrics, sheets, stove, lighting, depuration systems, photovoltaic systems, furniture and finishings. The team is hand-selecting each and every item that composes Casa Ojalá: an unrivalled dedication to quality and design that sets the house apart from all others. The 1:10 model for this unique bungalow, whose patented design allows its inhabitant to transform the interior configuration through a manual mechanical system.
The full-scale prototype will be placed in situ in the Italian countryside and made available to the press and prospective clients to experience in real life this fall. Site selection is in progress and will be announced in the coming months. The 1:1 prototype is currently under construction and the first deliveries are expected by the end of 2020. Already, a waiting list of over 30 clients for a total of about 50 houses has formed across a dozen countries.
Casa Ojalá is for the traveller seeking a new experience, one that immerses them in the surrounding nature, free from technology, yet without lacking the luxury of exquisite design and quality craftsmanship and the comforts of home in every thought-out detail. In addition to individual clients, Casa Olajá lends itself to the entrepreneur or boutique hotel looking to create a truly novel hospitality experience with either a single unit or several in a “distributed hotel” format.
In 2019, Casa Ojalá srl was formed by Beatrice Bonzanigo and Ryan Nesbitt to develop the initial design into full-scale production and to fulfil the customer demand generated in the wake of Milan Design Week 2019. In an overwhelming response, Casa Ojalá won the A’ Design Gold Award 2019, was published in 33 countries with over 100 dedicated articles, and a waitlist immediately formed of dozens of customers wanting to purchase their own. In the following months, Beatrice Bonzanigo with partner Ryan Nesbitt founded Casa Ojalá srl, based in Milan, to develop the model into full-scale production.
Beatrice Bonzanigo, co-Founder & President (1984, Milan)
Beatrice Bonzanigo graduated in 2009 from the Academy of Architecture of Mendrisio (Switzerland) under the guidance of architects like Peter Zumthor, Valerio Olgiati, the Aires Mateus brothers and Mario Botta. After several work experiences abroad, including Sydney and Barcelona, she started to collaborate in Milan with her mother – Architect Isabella Invernizzi, who has more than thirty years of experience and success. In 2014, IB Studio was established, specializing in the renovation of farmhouses, villas and chalets in Italy and abroad. The Studio won several prizes in the past years, including American Architecture Prize for a winery in Tuscany. A tireless traveller, a dancer and always seeking, in recent years Beatrice expanded the horizon of IB Studio to Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and the USA in the steady pursuit of new inspirations and freedom of design. She has been invited to speak on architectural innovation at SuperYacht Design Forum in London, KlimaHouse Milan Camp (2019) and for HOMI fair in Milan (2020).
Ryan Nesbitt, co-Founder & Managing Director (1983, Maine)
Ryan Nesbitt has a BSE in Mechanical Engineering (Duke 2005) as well as an MBA (INSEAD 2012). He began working in hospitality at the age of six, spending summers throughout his childhood employed at the family campground. His career after university has taken him to five continents, working in fields as diverse as aerospace engineering, public health and management consulting. He speaks 6 languages. In 2013 he co-founded a consumer-focused digital utility in the USA, Arcadia Power, running the venture-backed company for 5 years before stepping back to focus on his young family. In 2019, he joined forces with Beatrice Bonzanigo to found Casa Ojalá srl and is excited to blend his passion for travel & hospitality and years of operational experience to bring Casa Ojalá to the world.