A lot of homes in the Hamptons deserve double takes, but there is a particular home in Southampton that is more than worthy of a triple take. At 480 square feet, it’s not the biggest house on the East End, but since it was installed as a show house earlier this month at Mecox Southampton, the Cocoon Studio has been turning heads and garnering tour requests from the curious public.
The Cocoon Studio is one of four models of luxury prefabricated homes designed by COCOON9—an innovative, international company backed by accomplished investor and entrepreneur Christopher Burch, and Edwin Mahoney, a third-generation builder and the owner of E.B. Mahoney Builders. As a result of Burch’s extensive background in retail and design, COCOON9’s product line stands out in a market where most companies start exclusively with a builder’s perspective. “We start with the finishes,” says COCOON9 architect Steven Chen, “unlike our competitors, we provide an unparalleled level of detail from day one.” Chen likes to reference the 360-degree TVs, see-through fireplaces and other extraordinary touches that his team includes throughout each Cocoon which ranges in size from 160 to 480 square feet.
Best described as “liveable art,” the Cocoon is purposefully designed to be a global, affordable luxury product that fits in everywhere. Eventually, the company plans on stacking and combining the Cocoons which are similar in shape to shipping containers and are very easy to transport and fully integrate into an environment. Although the environmentally sensitive units don’t require a substantial foundation and are essentially “plug and play,” (the Southampton installation took an hour), they don’t look temporary. All it takes is a little landscaping and even in the Hamptons, where pitched roofs and cedar siding are the norm, the contemporary Cocoon can look like it’s been on the property forever.
In a recent article, Dwell calls the Cocoon an “all-in-one addition that comes prefabricated,” but in actuality, these compact, yet comfortable, spaces are highly customizable. Within the next few weeks, COCOON9 will roll out a new website featuring more options for everything from flooring to cabinetry and countertops. At the moment, the company sources high quality sustainable materials and is inspired by multifunctional furniture and fixtures that can be out of sight and out of mind until activated.
But what really distinguishes the Cocoon from other modular homes are its striking, sliding floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that deceivingly double the structure’s square footage by giving the illusion of a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living space. All the natural light contributes to the Cocoon’s passive design that allows owners to minimize the use of utilities like lights, AC and heating. In fact, well-insulated is an understatement. The Cocoon stays a very comfortable constant temperature thanks to an almost continuous line of insulation that doesn’t really allow the outside temperature to come inside.
While every detail of the Cocoon is “precision-engineered in a controlled environment,” the COCOON9 team is committed to efficiency—including a four-month turnaround time from inquiry to installation. Versatility is also key. The Cocoon is definitely not one-size-fits-all when it comes to function. The same model can be used as a guesthouse, studio, workshop or office and will complement architectural styles found in the country, the city and in the case of the Hamptons, the beach.
Want to learn more about COCOON9? Read on for an exclusive Mecox interview with its founder and visionary leader, Chairman and Co-Founder Christopher Burch.
Why are you attracted to the increasingly competitive space of luxury prefabricated design and construction? What I am most attracted to is great design. I believe everything can be improved upon. I look around me everywhere I go and think of ways to improve everyday experiences with great design. Luxury should not be about the most expensive product. It should be a about a great experience. Why can't everyone experience great design, even in the smallest spaces? That is what inspired COCOON9.
How does your process, and ultimately, your product line, compare to what your competitors are doing? To call this prefab is a broad generalization. There is a lot happening in that industry. These are modern, modular spaces designed with flexibility in mind ... room for extracurricular living. Not just as a primary residence, but maybe a home office, or an artist's studio or a pool house or guest quarters. We call it sustainable luxury in a small, sleek footprint. We've applied high-tech features like TVs that swivel to face one room or the next, smart glass windows that change from clear to opaque, and energy efficiencies that make it an easy space to maintain.
How do you feel about collaborating with Mecox and what excites you about establishing a presence in the Hamptons? Southampton is a sentimental family destination for me. It is the ideal place to showcase a Cocoon because area residents are familiar with outdoor activities and family gatherings and entertaining guests and utilizing the extra space for it all. The Cocoon Studio at Mecox also reminds me of a beach bungalow. We wanted to capture these realities in an atmosphere where home is already on people's minds. The Mecox team immediately grasped the vision ... even as a contemporary, summer show house, the Cocoon looks like it belongs there.
Which COCOON9 model are you most likely to be found owning and why? I own one! The Cocoon Cabin is in my back yard. It functions as a pool house and guesthouse.
Describe the COCOON9 homeowner. What do you think they're looking for or needing most? We say the Cocoon homeowner values form and function in equal measure. They are looking for smart design with energy efficiencies in a versatile space that can adapt to their own lifestyle.