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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Redefining the Box: Phoenix Team Creating New Living Spaces

For business partners Vincenz “Vine” Saccento and Roberto “Robert” Antonio Mazzullo it’s not about thinking outside the box, it’s about redefining it completely.

Their particular box – the v100 Mod Box – is a perfect cube (10’ x 10’ x 10’), and it’s designed to revolutionize the building industry across the globe.

“We’re not just interested in redefining living space; we’re interested in redefining the building industry worldwide,” the partners agree.

The box is about 90 percent sound-proof, can be built with Kevlar walls, and is so well-built that its R-value is somewhere around 50. (On average, most well-insulated, traditional buildings hit about 28.) But, these boxes aren’t meant for sealing anything inside. These boxes – designed and built in Saccento and Mazzullo’s modest-size corner office at Thomas Road and 7th Street – are made for living.

While these futuristic-looking pods embrace the minimalist lifestyle – simple designs, no more space than necessary – they are not to be confused with the prefabricated home or mobile home unit. Instead they’re sleek, modern and outfitted with high-end features like flat-screen televisions, magnetic burners, handmade walnut cabinetry, soft-close doors and cabinets, and a heating and cooling system by LG.

Despite the Mod Box’s almost featureless façade (aside from the massive glass doors and the bamboo-covered glass walls that front the breezeways), they’re surprisingly beautiful, not to mention very cool. Standing inside the tiny bedroom is as quiet as one might imagine the sleep pod of a spaceship to be. Plus, there’s the flexibility factor; the Mod Box can be combined to create larger spaces and connected to add more rooms. They can also be assembled to create lots of living space in dense, urban areas.

What’s more, according to the design/build team of Saccento and Mazullo, these particular boxes (made almost entirely of aluminum without any of the standard building tools of trade like nails, drywall, paint or wood) are maintenance-free, VOC-free, and virtually indestructible.

Better yet, they’re easy to assemble, cost about half of what a standard hotel might cost, and they can be assembled by anyone with the right oversight and basic training.

“In fact,” said Mazzullo, “we’d prefer to train new people rather than to re-train those within the building industry.”

The Mod Box, according to Saccento, can put people back to work and transform neighborhoods around the world.

Like the neighborhood just south of Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, where the Valley will get its first glimpse of the v100 Mod Box in use.

“We hope to show that you can take an area like that and build something of quality that rejuvenates the area,” said Saccento.

The three units, which should be finished in the next several weeks, will be comprised of two 10’ x 10’ Mod Boxes connected by an 8’ x 10’ breezeway with bamboo-covered glass walls in front and an aluminum wall in back. The units will also have a front deck with individual parking spaces and landscaping.

Suddenly, a neighborhood is transformed by a well-placed set of v100 Mod Boxes.

Where a stick and stucco structure could have been built, the v100 Mod Box adds a sense of chic, urban style.

“Plus,” said Saccento, “they will attract different types of tenants, such as a student, a lawyer and a retired mail carrier.”

While Saccento and Mazzullo are happy to refine the boxes, test building procedures, collaborate with others and talk with potential buyers such as hoteliers and multi-family housing developers, they’re not necessarily focused on selling to individual buyers. The cost savings are bigger for the buyer of multiple units. However, that’s not to say that individuals aren’t interested in paying the high-dollar figure that accompanies a single v100 Mod Box.

True; the Mod Box can be assembled in a lot less time and with decidedly less resources – both people and materials. However, the savings are also realized over time with a decrease in utilities; heating and cooling the structure is significantly less than traditional hotels or apartment buildings with their chinks, cracks and drafty windows. And long-term benefits are even greater – consider an apartment building or hotel that never needs to be re-painted or re-roofed.

The minimalist-lifestyle, while more widely-accepted in Europe and parts of Asia where quarters are more cramped, may be a harder sell for the Valley where the fingers of growth stretch unfettered for miles outside the urban core and high square footage is a coveted feature. However, Saccento and Mazzullo are focused on areas where space is dwindling. For instance, along the light rail corridors or along the Central Avenue in the South Mountain area or on one-acre plots that need more development than a single-family home can offer, the v100 Mod Box may be the answer.

For more information about the v100 Mod Box, visit online atwww.v100modbox.com.

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