Home International Articles, Interviews CASSETTE Introduces STACKABLE APARTMENT PODS To Address HOUSING CRISIS




Women-Owned Cassette Launches its First Product Line in Partnership with California Modernist Design Luminaries, Hodgetts + Fung

On October 20th, Cassette will reveal its one-bedroom apartment pod to construction, real estate, development industry insiders and the media to consider for 2023 building projects and reportage, respectively. A model unit, designed by the acclaimed modernist designers, Craig Hodgetts and Ming Fung will be displayed throughout Q2 Fall 2022 in Metropolitan Los Angeles, California.

At the launch event, Cassette Founder/CEO Dafna Kaplan, a construction tech luminary who hails from the consumer product sector, will announce a new streamlined path forward for modular construction. Inspired by great process-oriented brands that successfully transformed complex industries like air travel, food distribution and now construction, Cassette is on a mission to reduce the cost of multifamily housing construction by 30% in three years, while doubling the speed of housing production when it is most needed.

Cassette’s one-bedroom units are now available to general contractors and commercial real estate developers at a fixed, tiered pricing structure that includes turnkey delivery and installation on-site by Cassette. To RSVP for the launch event or book a private tour, click here.

Deploying a process model of ‘doing one thing exceptionally well’ used by world-changing brands like In-n-Out Burger, Inc. and Southwest Airlines, Cassette was developed to transform the construction industry and more quickly address the housing crisis. Specifically, Kaplan intends to impact the housing shortage by paralleling the production of housing in a factory with land preparation, which together can shave 30-50% off the construction schedule. Also, by converting 50% of building design toward a fixed product / fixed price model, Cassette plans to bring more predictability to construction.

“Cassette’s entire apartment units are manufactured in a factory then stacked quickly like LEGOs®,” said Founder/CEO Dafna Kaplan. “We are focused on standardizing the multifamily building process and making sure it works for every developer, every time, and that it is easy for any architect or contractor to use.”

Cassette’s first one-bedroom apartment pods are just under 600-square feet, and each includes an impeccably detailed bathroom, bedroom, laundry cabinet, double wardrobe, and chef’s kitchen. The interiors, designed by Hodgetts + Fung, feature a bedroom with a large clerestory window to draw in natural light and a sliding wall panel system to enlarge the space further.

Finishes have a warm modern style, and cleverly maximize functionality of every inch of the apartment.  The apartment walls contain a supporting steel structural system that allows them to stack up to six stories high without any external bracing or supports, and the connection is neatly post-tensioned at the roof of the building rather than with slow and costly welding on-site. All electrical and plumbing is linked through corridors via panels on each unit that can be accessed without having to enter the finished apartments.

Kaplan explains how she layered together real estate and consumer productization to create Cassette: “After fifteen years working in commercial construction with major architects and contractors, I often wondered what innovation could truly impact the antiquated linear and very customized process of building.

The magic of manufacturing, without departure from one, perfectly replicable form, is an essential element of our vision. When we commit to that level of purity in replication, we can take advantage of economic principles such as Wright’s Law. The principle, first documented in the 1930’s aerospace industry, predicts that every time a team cumulatively doubles its production number the company will save a constant percentage on cost and schedule. In the 1990’s Toyota famously institutionalized the process of improvement by empowering every worker to stop its production line and solve root inefficiencies in production.

We are trying to transform construction by building a similarly scalable process. The fact that the building industry doesn’t do this today is why projects and teams persistently fail at achieving cost reduction over time.”

Cassette is spearheaded by Dafna Kaplan and Nick Butcher. Kaplan is a construction tech CEO, entrepreneur, industry advisor (MATT Construction, ConXtech) and frequent speaker about all things modular. Butcher is a global operations executive and industry leader who formerly helmed some of the most respected commercial cost and risk-management firms in the construction sector (Davis Langdon USA, AECOM Americas). The two assembled a world class group of industry specialists to bring Cassette’s first product system to life.

Cassette’s structural system was based on elegant connection methodologies used around the world, including collaborators in South Korea and Singapore.  For U.S. customers, Cassette tailored its design to meet the most stringent seismic zone demands and building codes. Once the structural system was developed, a natural partnership formed with the accomplished design duo of Craig Hodgetts and Ming Fung to drive the interior livability, material innovation and architectural design of the Cassette product. Hodgetts and Fung are two celebrated designers known for their forward-thinking innovations across industrial design, art, and architecture worlds.

With two modular design patents to his credit, Craig Hodgetts explained, “we all share the foundational belief that great design doesn’t have to be expensive.”  While working together to advance Cassette’s leading-edge technology, it was clear that we could fulfill our own decades-long ambition to make modular construction a practical reality. This structure offers exciting opportunities for architects to really make a difference in the world of housing.”

“Modular construction is not new, nor is manufacturing,” Kaplan further explained, “but the building industry has not consistently used it in a way that can broadly reduce costs over time. We want to affect the cost of housing in the same way that process improvement causes a television set or a computer to come down in cost.”

Cassette’s new business model has already begun to transform the modular industry; the product is deeply resonating with early adopter real estate developers in Los Angeles who will pilot projects in 2023 and 2024. “We cannot name names yet, but we are blessed to have early believers in something we’ve invested the last three years of our lives creating.” says Kaplan.



About Cassette 

Based in Los Angeles, California, Cassette  is a modular housing product company that manufactures and sells apartment living pods, which stacked together create efficient and modern buildings for multi-family and hospitality environments. Woman-owned and operated, Cassette’s team consists of best-in-class professionals who come from architecture, product design, industrial engineering, manufacturing, construction, and supply chain sectors, and together have developed its products and systems. Cassette is committed to creating spectacular products that look and perform like superstars while driving down the cost of housing for everyone.