London Design Festival 2015: portable, pocket-size flats are a big theme in the capital

This year's London Design Festival launches new ideas for small-space living in London, from designer prefab "box houses" to shipping containers converted into cosy homes.
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The London Design Festival is not simply a huge, city-wide celebration of creativity in the design world - this year's event will also see the launch of innovative solutions for small-space living in our challenging capital.

Space and affordability are the critical issues for London, so this year, pocket-size and portable new homes are a big theme.

Taking place at historic Syon Park in west London, the Decorex trade interiors exhibition (; September 20 - 23) will see the launch of  Bert & May’s first "box house". 

The Bigger Box, part of the interior design company's bespoke modular home range, is factory-built in 14 weeks and assembled on site within a day. All you have to do is find the land or a flat roof.

"We wanted to recognise that space itself is the big thing. And Prefab has had the association of being cheap and lacking in design. The boxes were born out of a desire to provide really amazing prefabricated living spaces," says Lee Thornley, co-founder of Bert & May.

The 540sq ft mini home can be found at the entrance to Decorex, where the public day is Tuesday September 22. Interested buyers can contact Bert & May for tickets and a private tour of the adaptable home, which has two bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen/living area and a bathroom.

The box house on display at Decorex will be auctioned off at the show by sealed bid with a keen reserve price  - and the new owner can expect delivery within a week. Visit
Could you live in this? A New House for London, above, is a hi-tech smart home created from two shipping containers. The prototype will be on show in Store Street, WC1, September 21-27, for London Design Festival

In Bloomsbury, two recycled shipping containers have been converted into an energy-efficient "smart house" installation that offers about 310sq ft of living space and is expected to cost about £25,000 to build.

Called A New House for London, it has been kitted out with voice activation systems and automated lighting, and will be on show in Store Street, WC1, from September 21-27. 

This interactive prototype is for brave Londoners who want to build their own homes for a fraction of the usual price, now that planning rules are being relaxed and brownfield site building is being encouraged.

The smart home is designed and championed by planning and engineering giant Arup, Carl Turner Architects and The Building Centre, with support from Brazilian mining and tech company, CBMM. Visit

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