LiVS Office, Christchurch, New Zealand

CandO worked in collaboration with Sustainable Habitat Challenge (SHAC) to orchestrate the design and build of a movable, off-grid office space for the Life in Vacant Spaces Trust (LiVS) with volunteer labour. 

Following the wake of the 2011 earthquake the office was to be in the spirit of the charities mission to help revitalise Christchurch’s many vacant sites . The brief was to provide a comfortable working environment for two employees in just 10m² to avoid building consent requirements. The small plan was made to feel bigger with a lofty roof and projecting window seat. Further space was delineated with a covered entrance veranda, solar panel awning and fenced off exterior deck. 

The office demonstrates that we can live well with less reliance on resources. It is off-grid with power supplied for laptops, printers and lighting by three solar panels. The building was constructed with as many salvaged materials from post earthquake demolition as we could. These included the timber framing, windows, cladding, roofing, decking, insulation and some interior linings.

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The Mess, Thorpeness, Suffolk

CandO were asked by The Mess cafe to design and fit-out an easy breezy, Berlin style pop-up eatery in the holiday town of Thorpeness, Suffolk.

The cafe was to suit swarms of tourists in the summer but also be a place of refuge for locals to hang out and socialize on cold windy days. The name The Mess harps back to the idea of communal feasting, a statement the cafe owners Phoebe and Dominic were keen to see celebrated by the provision of a long dining table and benches.

A salvaged store counter was refurbished and set the tone for the rest of furniture. End of life scaffold boards where reinvented throughout the scheme as tables, shelves and countertops. They were used along side reclaimed industrial lampshades and an OSB/ply back counter. The joinery was completed in a number of weeks on a materials budget of £500.

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With reclaimed materials CandO have converted two former builders vans into bespoke campers appropriate for their country of origin. In New Zealand a sofa was placed in front of the panoramic windows. In the UK the windowless van required for stealth camping was more inward looking.


Most of the materials for the vans were recycled obtained at minimal cost. The vans extremely small space required innovative storage solutions to hide snowboards and warm clothes but still left space for the kitchen sink and spice rack!

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