Van Bo Le-Mentzel is sitting in the ID. concept car.

Visions of now: 
Van Bo Le-Mentzel

Visions of now: 
Van Bo Le-Mentzel

Thinking in new dimensions.

At first glance, one may think functional clothes represent laziness, but in Van Bo’s case, it’s an image of honesty and pureness. He has other things, more important things, to think about. He ponders over future scenarios of cities, housing shortages and the space that transports us from A to B. When you ask him about the space of tomorrow, Van Bo moves into a passionate talk, speaking not only with words but with eyes and hands.

“If everyone on earth deserves a space on their own. And we are like, 7 billion people now, everyone has around 40-50 square meters. Do you know, how much space that should be? This earth is probably too small for all of us”, he says. So, we consequently need to re-think our spaces. This is the motivation behind his most notable project so far: the 1sqm house. 1 x 1 and that’s all he spoils us with. With some surprise, we wonder how all can fit in such a space, but society shouldn’t take the definition of house literally, as Van Bo is more than an architect, he’s also an artist.


“When talking about housing, we talk a lot about numbers, but is that it?” Is the equation: the more space, the happier? Van Bo raises the question about how much we actually need to be happy, rather than providing the perfect solution. Within the walls of his place in Berlin, he starts realizing these ideas by multipurposing his living space. “I live with my wife and two kids and we transform the whole space all the time. We haven’t defined yet which room belongs to the kids and which room belongs to the adults. It’s always transforming in the moment. Our kids are transforming us.” Beyond sharing the adult bed with the little ones, he trusts in the sharing economy. “We talk about wasting food and wasting clothes but why not spaces?”

Intrigued by tiny spaces.

When talking about homes, Van Bo doesn’t stay in four walls. The visionary dreams of houses on wheels. E-mobility frees us from the traditional design of a car. We have the freedom to design its space differently, freedom from bulky motors. He imagines making a tiny house inside an electric car. „Wouldn’t that be great – to not go from my home to the office but to move my entire house to where I would like to work?" Van Bo continues dreaming when he talks about technological advancement and autonomous driving. “Why should we focus on the traffic if we can focus on the kids, you know, having a breakfast in the car?” He sees „E-Mobility as a messenger of a new era“ and an opportunity to find new ways to organize cities, that are open and accessible to everyone.

Making more of less.

Since Van Bo can’t stop striving for more innovative future scenarios, he founded initiatives like the Tiny House University on Berlin’s Bauhaus Campus to invite society to participate and develop them further. To live up to his dreams of multifunctional spaces, Van Bo would go as far as opening up his apartment to strangers. “When I leave my home, why shouldn’t I give it to people who would love to work in that environment?” His eyes sparkle when he talks about connectivity. To make sharing smart, “I think it would be possible to connect all the spaces we have and have a kind of library or app, to not waste too many resources.”

The one sqm house in nature.
Van Bo is looking at parts of his one sqm house.
Van Bo is putting up his one sqm house.
Wouldn’t that be great – to not go from my home to the office but to move my entire house to where I would like to work?
Van Bo Le-Mentzel


Van Bo Le-Mentzel is a graduate engineer and architect, artist, designer and innovator, he has taught Design as a visiting professor at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, gave a Talk at TEDx, and makes no distinction between work and time off. He doesn’t see money or pressure as adequate motivators, but trust and freedom and believes that successful ideas are those that allow for open participation in the development process.  

Portrait of Van Bo Le-Mentzel.