BM17 – ZaVinci Labs: The Heart of Playatech

Welcome to Playanardo ZaVinci’s secret lab!

And our newest breakthroughs code named: “Burning Booth” & “CubbyCubes”


You’ve made it behind the curtain, where wizards with sketchpads invent outrageously viral wooden technologies – then radically ritualize them on the Burning World under the non-existent tribal pennant “Playatech”


In the Dark Ages (Burning Man 2005), we instigated a Renaissance in seating that eliminated skanky couches from festivals. Then we alchemized bars, bike racks, and stages into radically efficient art. Now, we strive to take our slotted structural Renaissance to its full enlightenment through development of CubbyCubes – a modular construction system for rapidly deploying small structures used in radical rituals or habitation. 

In true Renaissance form, we first built a church for Burning Man 2016. Well, it looks like a little church, in the Mission Style that will not beBurningBooth160302 re-invented for 300 years. Commissioned by the information dissemination office of the high government of Black Rock City, all of the high priests and priestesses of the Burning World were commanded to confess in this little church at the 2016 Global Leadership Conference.

To fairly honor this high purpose, the “Burning Booth” is the first ZaVinci design that has ever contained the highly guarded and globally powerful word “Burning” (with a capital B); a word that has crushed the titans of industry. You can see how easy this church is to assemble here, and we have shared its construction plans with the world to enable little churches everywhere. 

Yet the Burning Booth is but a Trojan Horse, destined to unleash full structural enlightenment upon the masses. It heralds a new era in construction techniques that can enable even the poorest peasants of the land to own a home. A strong, safe, solid home that muskets cannot penetrate. A home that harnesses the power of the sun for lighting, security, and communications. A home constructed in the magical time of one hour, at the magical cost of just one silver dollar per square foot ($20 US). 

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The wizards at ZaVinci labs are furiously sketching away late into the candlelit nights to empower the people with nano-home structures that advance humanity past the dark ages of homelessness. We cannot share our secret designs at this time, lest the wrong forces of darkness harness the power of light. We can share a couple of early concept sketches to help communicate the future to those seeking enlightenment. And soon, very soon, we will invite a radically pARTicipative process to construct the very first CubbyCube home. 

Someday in a world not so far away, ZaVinci Labs hopes to invent the Internet, then launch a web page with full plans for CubbyCubes, to complete the Trojan Horse adventure unleashed by the Burning Booth reformation. Being permanent futurists, we envision the copy for that page might look like this: 


CubbyCubes are a modular flat-pack system for rapidly deploying long-lifetime high-quality framed/sheathed nano-homes at less than 1/10 the cost per foot of conventional wood-frame construction.

CubbyCubes are ideal for homeless villages, disaster relief transitional stage recovery, refugee camps, campground shelters, backyard sheds, work camp housing, and any purpose requiring rapid, easy, low-cost deployment of safe, secure, semi-permanent, self-powered, personal-sized structures.

The entire shell and roof structure of each 8’x8′ 55 sq ft CubbyCube module is made from just 12 sheets of 3/4” plywood, easily sliced and diced into puzzle pieces for rapid assembly into a rigid “pseudo-monocoque” box structure that supports itself like conventional framed & sheathed construction – but it all slides together using slots without a single fastener!

After insertion of a standard pre-framed door & window, exterior sealing, installing conventional roof shingles or high-tech sprayed coating, and inserting interior building insulation panels, CubbyCubes are capable of handling wind and weather for many years. Or, for temporary use, replace the sealing & roof finishing steps with a waterproof outer wrap (analogous to a car cover).

That’s just the start – CubbyCubes are a completely modular system, enabling easy integration of interior furnishings using the existing shell support structure plus additional plywood inserts – the furniture actually makes the building stronger. A single 8×8 CubbyCube can include a TwinXL bed, night stand, desk/table, closet rod, and multiple storage shelves – without a single additional fastener. Just add covered plastic bins as “drawers” and possessions are no longer a pile on the ground.

8x16-shellBeing modular, two or more CubbyCubes can be joined, enabling expanded 110 sq ft nano-homes. Two CubbyCubes enables an integrated living/eating/work room and a bedroom. Three CubbyCubes enables a cozy living area and two bedrooms – or one big room of ~180 square feet! All for only about $20/square foot in material costs. We even offer rapidly deployable foundation system solutions to get CubbyCubes above the mud, critters, or other natural challenges.

For power, each CubbyCube’s roof is peaked with angle-adjustable solar panels, which drive LED lighting, vent fan, smoke detector, intrusion alarm, battery storage, and laptop/device charging station – all low-voltage except the final laptop inverter, so no Electric Code concerns. Just add a smart phone with hot-spot capability for a “smart” nano-home – you can even check the home’s status from a phone app.

Ship 20 flat-pack nano-homes in a container, add a food truck towing a toilet/shower trailer, and a cooperative village can be deployed in a day. To sustain the village, simply provide a food source, one set of water/sewer lines or tanks, and (if needed, such as for homeless/refugee encampments) a security guard/cameras.

CubbyCubes finally solve an age-old problem: tiny homes that can be deployed extremely rapidly at extremely low cost without site prep or utility infrastructure, yet provide all the critical aspects of a safe and comfortable living environment for long-term habitation.

The best part is that thanks to the Playadici family and other sponsors, we will offer this amazing yet simple technology to the world under a creative commons license, with full documentation. All the parts and raw materials are readily available at large building supply stores. So, you and a few civic-minded makers can fabricate CubbyCubes yourself using small powered hand tools in a garage or at a disaster site, or you can build them faster with CNC milling machines like TechShop provides, or we can make them by the thousands or millions in automated factories if demand supports it – just don’t try to profit from this in any way without our permission, or we’ll stretch you on the castle’s rack.

Hey world, go solve your refugee and homeless problems! We have the technology – now get out of your box and fix that NIMBY challenge in your heads so everyone can reach housing nirvana.

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Playatech – Always Searching The Galaxy For Flat Worlds With Boxes To Break Out Of