Contest Submission


Total Votes: 11

Type of Work: Urban Cabin


DiffBox is a modular urban cabin. It provides a cool and shady seating area when it’s nice & sunny. It adds an interesting volume to an otherwise plain area. The structure provides some amount of intimacy while not completely closing the space it sits in, thus facilitating social interaction. During events, the cabin can be used as kiosk, bar, lunch or chillout zone. To keep the cabin dry on a rainy day, a tarp or tarpaulin is spun over the roof. The system is composed of modules for various purposes :

  • plain (multi purpose)
  • seating
  • tables
  • bar

Modular by design

Each module is made of 4 connected metal sheets, shaped into their respective form. The material is powder coated using a protective paint. The modules are connected to each other using a simple screwing mechanism allowing for a rapid deployment. In combination with its rails, the cabin can even be installed on non solid grounds.

Raise your voice !

The residents of Differdange get to vote on the types of modules used for the firstprototype to be installed on the Place des Alliés. They also have their say on the color(s) used for coating.

Estimated time: 6-8 months
Estimated cost: 15000

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4 Responses

  1. Here is an ingenious and colorful idea! Well done.
    You have well integrated the comments of the inhabitants, on the other hand I wonder how such a device can evolve over time, are you not afraid of the degradations that this pretty hut turns into (excuse me the expression) corner to pee and cigarette smoke?
    Do you have experience in steel construction? I think your project costs a lot more to produce. How do you recycle all this after use?
    In any case, good idea, good luck.

  2. Dear Birgit, thanks for your comment.

    Like any public installation, DiffBox is subject to degradation, therefore I chose a material that has proven resilient to weathering. In fact, powder coated steel is more durable and resistent to corrosion than stainless steel ! Other advantages : durability, chip resistance, low maintenance, long lasting finish and colours, environmentally safe (no solvents). Cleaning can be done efficiently by high-pressure water.

    We do have some experience in this type of steel construction. It is quite difficult to estimate the price as it depends a lot on volume. Transportation costs for such a heavy material are also high. We will source the metal from local production where possible, even if that means a change in design.

    We have tried to estimate the costs and you are absolutely right : the original model won’t fit into the 15000€ envelope. I have designed a slightly smaller version, DiffBox S (plans will be uploaded here soon, including price rundown).

    Estimated weight for DiffBox S with 6 modules = 3,5 tonnes !

    The cabin should last at least 100 years. But if it has to be broken down for some reason, steel is very easy to recycle … and this is even done locally, in the Belval plant.

  3. Dear Paul,
    Thank you for being so kind to answer me.
    Galvanized steel might be a good alternative if you want to save money, powder coating in the cabin is expensive! It does not depend on the volume but on the manufacturing workshop that you will commission for this service. I wish you to find the right partner.
    Good luck.

  4. Great advice there. We’ll pick a local metallurgist for the job. It’s possible that we underestimate the cost for the bending of the steel bars. In that case we’ll consider sponsoring, e.g. by applying a small plate with the name of the workshop. Is there any better publicity ?

    Regarding galvanising, umm I am not a big fan of the visual aspect of galvanised steel. If powder coating isn’t an option, we would consider more traditional means of painting. This would have the advantage that residents can participate in the effort.

    Another solution would be to have a local graffiti artist a go at it.

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Place des Alliés is a main square located in the Fousbann area of the City of Differdange. This area is marked by the big industrial site of the AlcelorMittal (former ARBED / HADIR) – a historically important center of steel production that is less than 300m away from Place des Alliés. A part of the industrial site had been recently reconverted to the 1535 Creative Hub (200m direct walking way from the square), hosting around 300 creatives. Although the hub is significant for the changing city identity, it is seen by residents as quite isolated and closed to the public....
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