Dog owners use pet projects to build better homes for pampered pooches

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 December, 2007, 12:00am

There was a time when 'being in the doghouse' meant being in trouble with the wife. But now, dossing in the dog's digs might not be such a bad prospect, with all the architect-designed kennels on the market.

The kennel has gone upmarket as design-savvy pet owners demand homes for their hounds that have the same level of architectural cred as their own abodes.

One of the first designers to start designing pads for pooches was Hong Kong-based Michael Young, who created his Dog House (below) for Italian manufacturer Magis.

The polyethelene kennel stands on a stainless-steel frame and is available in tangerine or white. A brass plate affixed above the door reads: Amicus fidelis protectio fortis. For those whose Latin is a little rusty, it means 'Faithful friend, strong protector'.

This year Gaye Cevikel set her design students at the California College of Fine Arts in San Francisco the task of coming up with a range of objects for her Gaia & Gino label, several of which were put into production for the Gino the Dog range.

Most mutts would feel right at home in Loop, by student Brian Mcintyre. Resembling a giant dog collar, Loop is a soft kennel made from leather and memory foam that can also be dismantled for a weekend away.

Sydney-based designer Anna Keen has also created a range of kennels. She started her company, Barchitecture, in September, after she had trouble finding a suitable kennel for her dog, a collie-labrador cross named Sandy.

'All I could find were those plastic, moulded versions from China, or really basic hardware-store versions with pitched roofs,' Keen says. 'I wanted something that was a bit more edgy and that would fit with the aesthetic of our home.

'I figure, you go to the trouble of choosing beautiful art and furniture, so why not extend that principle to your dog's house,' she says.

So Keen designed one herself (left) and liked it so much she had it made for sale. There are now three dog houses in the Barchitecture range, made from external-grade plywood.

With their simple crisp lines, the kennels have a contemporary Scandinavian aesthetic. They're finished in raw lacquer, making them suitable for outdoors. Ventilation holes concealed in the floor keep the kennels cool and help to eliminate odours. They boast skillion roofs, shady eaves and small patios, and are lined inside with trendy wallpaper.

And from Italy comes Dog is a God, a range of six doghouses ('dooog's house', good life dog's house, nomad dog's house, temple dog's house, transparent dog's house and travel dog's house) created by designer Marco Morosini.

Each doghouse is handmade, numbered and signed by Morosini. 'They have been conceived as jewels and noble residences for any breed of dog,' Morosini says.

Not everyone is a fan of high design for pets. Designer Iain Halliday of design firm Burley Katon Halliday says: 'My dogs sleep on a doggie futon I bought from a pet shop. I don't think I'd ever actually design a kennel for them ... it's too contrived. It's going a bit far, really.'