Shigeru Ban, Ikea and Nendo among those creating haute architecture for pets

Home interior for the horse shed
El Pabellón El Mirador stables by CC Arquitectos change with the seasons, as the natural chinks and cracks in its recyled wood encourage the growth of moss and plants, blending the structure into the natural surroundings
(Image credit: CC Arquitectos)

This year, Phaidon has published at atlas of Brutalist architecture, A Very Serious Cookbook by Contra Wildair, a two-volume wedge on the life and work of Lucian Freud, and now, an ‘indispensable’ encyclopedia about architecture for pets. Pet-tecture, a light-hearted (lightweight) little book traces graphics of cat paws and bird claw-prints through the pages, which are warmly penned by Tom Wainwright, filled with kennels, play-dens and cages of all stripes and sizes.

Many of the serious architects, artists and designers with work included in the collection (Kenya Hara, Shigeru Ban, Sou Fujimoto) have channeled a sense of fun into their small-scale structures. From Forma Italia’s glossy red and white cat bed that suspends from the ceiling, to Richard Bell’s ‘Bubbletank’ fishbowl that droops over the surface it sits on, like a water drop that’s about to hit the floor

The bird nest is designed on the table

‘Cage Archibird’, by Gregoire de Laforrest

(Image credit: Gregoire de Laforrest)

Fun doesn’t have to mean frivolous, however. ‘Cage Archibird’ by Gregoire de Laforrest ‘falls halfway between practical furniture and showstopping sculpture’, writes Wainwright, commenting on the oft-mused distinction between art and design. Branches from a carved model of a tree breach a solid oak table, capped by three glass bells, so Tweetie Pie can view his surroundings from a rightfully elevated position.

In some pet projects, designers aim to make ecological statements with their animal architecture. Snohetta has created two monumental honeycomb-coloured beehives, which stand on the roof of a Norwegian building, making a statement ‘on the global decline of honeybee colonies’. Elsewhere, designers focus more on raising a smile, than raising awareness. Ben Uyeda’s ‘DIY Concrete Dog House’, for example, is a bit of brutalism for your four-legged buddy.

Though one feels Wainwright might have missed a trick by not calling it ‘Barkitecture’, this is a practical and aesthetic celebration of animal-human companionship, and its worth its weight in goldfish.

Book about pet interior designs

Pet-tecture: Design for Pets brings together an inspiring, surprising and fun collection of stylish designs for pets of all shapes, sizes, breeds and species

(Image credit: Phaidon)

It is a home for pet dog made of wood

Crafted from traditional Japanes Paulownia wood, favoured for being lightweight and durable, Natural Slow’s ‘Negura’ pet house from the ‘Pet House’ Series features a pentagonal form that opens skywards and cradles the pet in a safe place

(Image credit: Shigeru Ban)

Home for a dog made of cement

Made of the specially-formulated material Quikrete, Ben Uyeda’s ‘DIY Concrete Dog House’ is assembled at home via video tutorials, and seeks to replace cheap store-bought designs

(Image credit: Shigeru Ban)

There are two red fish in the fish tank

Designed to stimulate conversation between guest and homeowner, Richard Bell of Psalt Design’s ‘Bubble Tank’ protrudes over the surface is resides on, only just supported by its counterbalanced weight

(Image credit: Shigeru Ban)

The cat home interior has black and white cushion

Elegant and refined, Chiavri’s ‘Suite’ cat lounger is symbolic of a new way of cohabiting with animals. The retro-patterened soft cushion is cleverly kept in place by magnets

(Image credit: Shigeru Ban)

The bird nest is on the stand

Fréderic Stouls and Marc Ange’s ‘Rocking Birdcage’, for Chimère Edition, is a spherical aluminium cage that see-saws on solid oak rockers, counterbalanced by its weight

(Image credit: Shigeru Ban)

There are five fishes in the fish tank and the interior looks like cloud

With the use of 3D printing, Haruka Misawa creates complex designs for her minimalist ‘Waterscape’ aquariums, which are supported by the buoyancy of water

(Image credit: Shigeru Ban)


‘Pet-tecture: Design for Pets’ published by Phaidon. For more information, visit the website

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.