One MANI House, A House Not Like the Others

One Mani House is an adaptable, highly aesthetic and space-saving family home of the future. And it’s pretty darn special for a whole lot of reasons.

Disrupting the Design Model

What is the value of good design? Mani Architecture has created a kick-arse, one-of-a-kind exemplar that breaks the mould of the housing market in more ways than one. From the unconventional way the project was funded to the quirky and adventurous design decisions, One MANI House in Melbourne’s Fitzroy North is a true showcase for what’s possible when you bring an architect on board for the journey.

Wanting to have complete creative freedom, One MANI House was set up as a unique development, where in essence Mani Architecture was the client. Pitched at developers, the project’s goal is in being a real-life test case for what good design can achieve, even on a budget. As such, the owners (A.K.A. investors/developers), can now sell the property having a stand-out gem in a tightening market. And the incredible results were only made possible by the clever input of a skilled architecture studio.

Driven by a desire that architecture is perceived as elitist, One MANI House elegantly shows that architecture and design are not a luxury. “We want to change this stigma, we want to educate, we want to teach and we want to showcase the importance of well-designed and executed spaces,” explains Mani Architecture founder Sara Tonini.

The design details

Pink bathroom? Yes, please. Drenched in buckets of natural light? That shouldn’t even be a question. These kinds of ‘wow’ design decisions came from the creative minds of Mani Architecture without the usual client questioning. But what it shows is that good design can happen through daring choices and colourful spirit.

“This is not your traditional kind of home,” says Tonini. And from the very first glimpse of the façade, that becomes pretty apparent. Layered timber shingles make a point of different alongside the arched doorways. “We chose materials that were local, but also smart in terms of how they age and will wear over time, which also contributed to cost considerations,” adds Tonini.

In addition to the bold design elements, Mani Architecture worked with local artisans and collaborators to bring certain pieces to life. For instance, the bathroom basins were created in the custom pink and black colour palettes by a local ceramicist. This process ensures not only original design solutions but will often result in a better outcome, all while supporting local creatives. This handmade and locally-driven approach is true to the core of Mani Architecture as Mani means ‘hand’ in Italian.

What is the future family?

Foreseeing the changes in the family dynamic and the fact that space will continue to be a premium, One MANI House shows what’s possible when you make every square inch work. And that isn’t just about just packing more in!

“We really worked the available space on this project,” shares Tonini, adding, “What is really special is the fact that even though we were working with such a tight volume, through inclusions like the skylight over the stairs and north-facing glazing, it actually feels really spacious when you’re inside.”

Another well-planned consideration in One MANI House is the way the entire home can adapt for varying needs. Part of the house can be completely closed off and the project cleverly includes two separate entrances. This fits the ever-more common narratives of growing families, grown-up children at home, Airbnb hosting, there’s even potential for two families to take up residence and feel both privacy and connection. Here is an example of how design modifies itself to the future.

Ultimately, what Mani Architecture has achieved is an adaptable, highly aesthetic and space- saving family home of the future – all while staying true to the audacious design approach that sets Mani Architecture apart from the rest.

Written by Aleesha Callahan
Photography Benjamin Hosking