The homes in this video have been described as the "The Flintstones meet the Jetsons," but a Beverly Hills architect would rather you call it home sweet dome, and some day in the future you just might. The peculiar-looking homes are called Binishells, and CNBC is told an A-list movie star plans to live in one.
Architect Nicolo Bini is president and CEO of Binishells a small construction-technology start-up with an unusual vision of the future.
"The construction industry has to change, and buildings are so inefficient—they're not strong enough," he said. "They have to be built to be faster and more affordable. That's what we're going after, and I think there's huge opportunity out there. The construction industry has been too stagnant for too long.”
Bini predicts that future homebuyers will look for affordable, eco-friendly and disaster-proof housing, and that's what he’s designing today. He told CNBC that his Binishells have "one-third the environmental impact over their lifespan, cost half as much to build, and yet are far more durable and resistant to all matters of natural disasters."
From the looks of Binishells, it’s pretty clear he has abandoned traditional aesthetics and ways of building. Forget hammers, nails and wood. Binishells are literally inflated via a patent-pending technology.
Here's the gist: A heavy-duty balloon is covered with special flexible steel bars and concrete. While the concrete is still wet, the balloon is inflated with air, and the concrete and bars assume the shape of the expanding balloon. When the concrete hardens the balloon is removed, leaving a steel-reinforced thin-shell dome that becomes the home’s outer shell.
Bini said the process can take a matter of days, and the dome structure is more energy-efficient than traditionally shaped homes made of other materials.
He told CNBC that since 2009, he has raised more than $350,000 from friends and family for his technology, and one of the investors is the actor David Arquette.
The company is working on a large, multimillion-dollar project in Malibu that will be the future home of an A-list celebrity, Bini said. The project is still top secret and he cannot reveal who it is for, but celebrities who already have homes in Malibu include Suzanne Somers, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will and Jada Smith, Charlize Theron, Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks.
Binishells has some big hurdles to clear, however—a major one being that most people think of a home as having things such as a conventional shape and a white picket fence.
The founder dismissed concerns about his design’s marketability, though, saying, "From an aesthetic perspective, people like what Binishells is providing. … We're partnering with international builders around the world. We've spoken to the biggest [nongovernmental organizations] around the world. They love what we're doing, and they're seeing huge potential for our systems in their markets."
Bini also has some stiff competition from major home builders that are going green. KB Home (KBH) has ZeroHouse 2.0, an energy-efficient project that aims to eliminate homeowners’ monthly electricity charges over the course of a year. And Pulte Homes (PHM) has reported that 70% of its new construction is built to Energy Star standards.
Beyond the housing market, Bini has big dreams of Binishell airports, schools and even disaster-relief shelter that could be deployed in a matter of days.
Another challenge for him is getting builders to license and ultimately use his technology. CNBC asked him about his success in licensing, but Bini would not disclose specifics.
Knowing that buildings consume 40 percent of the world's primary energy (according to the International Energy Agency) and that the market for all things green is exploding, designers such as Bini are looking to capitalize on increasingly environmentally conscious consumers.
IBISWorld Market Researchers expect outstanding growth in the industry from not to 2016, with revenue projected to increase an average of 23 percent a year, to $245.4 billion.
CNBC offered Bini 60 seconds to convince a panel of experts that the Binishell is the home of the future, and he took us up on it.
Power Pitch Panelists for @Binishells include Jon Steinberg COO of Buzzfeed @JonSteinberg, Diana Olick CNBC’s Real Estate Reporter @diana_olick, and host Tyler Mathisen @TylerMathisen.
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