August is “vacation month” worldwide.
With global warming threatening coastal cities and a new era of mass migration on the horizon, going mobile just might be today’s bright idea – and tomorrow’s way of life. Here are a dozen tech-packed trailers you can browse on your laptops while the kids play in the water.
Slovakia-based Nice Architects has a nice idea for future mobile-homers: the Rolling Stone eco-capsule. Though not connected in any way with a certain English music group, a certain American pop culture magazine or a song by a certain singer named Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stone stands on its own when it comes to being environmentally friendly, self-sufficient and generally cute & cozy.
Those who wouldn’t be caught dead in a classic, Harvest Gold motor home might find the svelte & stylish Mehrzeller much more appealing. German for “multi-cell”, the Mehrzeller caravan concept maximizes interior space while displaying an organic, polygon exterior that resembles natural mineral crystals. The Mehrzeller hails from Graz, Austria, birthplace of another svelte & stylish object: California “Governator” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The 2030s, that is. Actually the Airstream concept Ford’s been showing off lately looks both ways: its eco-friendly hybrid hydrogen fuel cell is most futuristic while the silvery style and iconic name harken back to the good old dust bowl days when hydrogen power was all the rage… until that idea went down like a lead zeppelin.
above: (images via: Treehugger)
Dutch designer Niels Caris has created a foldout trailer called, naturally, the Foldoub Trailer. Tow, park, push a switch and the whole kit & kaboodle opens up like Godzilla’s big pop-up book of home design. On the downside, the Foldoub Trailer has no kitchen, bathroom or storage… which could be a problem if you’re parked 50 miles past the “100 miles to Next Gas & Lodging” sign.
The 252° Living Area springs from the creative mind of French designer Stephanie Bellange. Small enough to be towed by a Mini, the 3-wheeled trailer features supporting feet that spread automatically once the trailer’s outside shell is opened. The interior parts follow, much like the petals of a blossoming flower.
The Colim Modular Camper is a car, a trailer and a motorhome all in one. Park at your campsite, then tour the sites in the two-seater convertible module. The interior lives up to the exterior’s promises as well, with flowing, organic surfaces and eye-pleasing colors – not a splinter of plastic wood anywhere. The Colim Modular Camper is eco-friendly as well, with a solar panel on the roof and a hybrid engine nestled under the hood.
The T@B XL takes the classic teardrop trailer concept and lifts it into a new level of luxury. T@B’s (pronounced “Tab”) lesser models are anything but trashy but the twin-axle XL definitely rules the roost. Sleekly styled, the XL still stretches 22 feet from stem to stern and is expected to be priced in the $60K range. That is, if manufacturer Knaus Tabbert manages to emerge from bankruptcy – times are tough for the purveyors of luxo-goods.
You’ve seen cars towing motorcycles, but how about ‘cycles towing cars? They may be scaled down a mite but these very cool trailers still evoke the spirit of pinstriped, big-tired muscle cars. Mustangs and Corvettes are featured but the manufacturer, American Custom Trailers, also takes custom orders.
above: (images via: Gear)
The Sylvan Sport GO trailer looks like a comfy pop-up camping trailer at first glance but the more you look, the more you see. Indeed, versatility is the Sport GO’s middle name. Weighing in at 800 lbs., the camper morphs into an ATV hauler, a camping gear hauler, basically whatever you need it to do. Calling it the Transformers of pop-up campers would be an understatement, though the Sport GO seems to be the non-combative type. Here’s a video of the Sylvan Sport GO in action:
This intimidating mobile home concept from General Motors Advanced Design Group shows the beleaguered corporation isn’t bankrupt – at least when it comes to provocative ideas. The GMC PAD is sort of a Winnebago on steroids that sports 6 wheels, an enormous full length (and width) windshield and a curious articulating feature that extends a step-like device out from the, er, fuselage to ease entry and exit. The PAD runs on a diesel-Electric hybrid system and its innovative resource management technology ensures onboard fuel and water supplies will last weeks, even months.
above: (images via: Find A Property)
The Tumbleweed Tiny Home Company has got a good thing going. These tiny perfect houses come mounted on wheels, so by law they’re considered travel trailers and thus a building permit isn’t required. Tiny they are, however: could you live in 65 to 140 square feet of space without padding the walls?
above: (images via: Design Art Book)
The Capsule Caravan may look lke an oversized M&M but there’s nothing nutty about what’s inside. British designer David Tonkinson engineered the ovoid trailer to separate into distinct Comfort and Service Pods to keep men and machines apart. Conceived as a way to take in summer music festivals by day while resting comfortably by night, the Capsule Caravan is one of the sharpest trailers around – and that’s saying something as it’s one of the smoothest designs going.
Designed in collaboration with Aston Martin in response to Transport for London’s competition to design a new bus for the city. There are two first place winning design challenges pre-opinions with a vehicle that is environmentally sensitive, accessible and reinvents a much-loved symbol of London for the modern era. After an intense period of research which included canvassing opinion from passengers, drivers and conductors, the team worked to design a new bus from the inside-out. In doing so, consideration was given to a wide range of issues including layout, use of materials, motive power, passenger experience and the impact of the bus on the environment of the city.
The bus is designed to navigate the dense and varied streets of London, employing innovative technologies to allow for greater maneuverability and energy conservation. Optimizing safety, the driver’s cabin provides panoramic views as well as incorporating screens to supervise CCTV images and radio communications with the on-board conductor. Much like a car or a building, the design evolved in response to the needs of its users. The layout, lighting and wooden floors are conceived to encourage a spirit of warmth and community. The arrangement of the decks is driven by comfort and particular consideration is given to the selection of reconstituted leather upholstery to create a tactile ‘living room’ feel, especially in the saloon-like lower deck.
The new bus is zero emissions ready, accessible for all and will set new standards for sustainable public service vehicles. Passengers benefit from views from the top of the deck through a glazed roof which incorporates solar cells to absorb sunlight and generate energy. By filtering daylight the internal temperature is well controlled. The bus design re-introduces the rear open access platform that made London’s Routemaster bus so popular up until its withdrawal from general service. This is supplemented by a side door to facilitate access for those with impaired mobility as well as families with young children.
Below: Co-winner and alternate bus concept by capoco design
Yes, this works for me.
Pre-visualization techniques did wonders for my skiing and tennis. Enjoying the recent buzz on power of visualization in design. Remember the big push on SUV’s? Would love to see a similar effort on the micro-car. Especially from the likes of this producer.
Talented designer, stylist, and illustrator.
Designer: Norio Fujikawa
Tesla now on dance floor. Loose bolts trigger a recall. via treehugger and @Michael_GR [PR]
Tesla already provides battery packs for Daimler’s all-electric Smart EV, set for release in 2012, but this new partnership will expand that relationship, seeing both companies bringing expertise to the other. via ecogeek [PR]
Strength in numbers. Assuming slightly more than one person per car on average, one coach bus could potentially replace 50 cars on the road and reduce carbon emissions some 10 times over. via flowingdata [PR]
Unlike a motorcycle the Capsule would provide weather protection, plus enough storage to allow for extended overnight adventures. Of interest, a single touch screen that would control vehicle functions and offer internet-enabled satellite connectivity.
Electric motors would provide propulsion to all four wheels, and a roof-mounted solar panel would help keep the batteries topped up on sunny days. Once stopped, a removable luggage rack would double as a stool or desk at the campsite.
Designer: Alp Germaner
World-first ecoF3: New racing car made of vegetables and fruit. Powered by chocolate hits speeds of 145 miles per hour when it is launched next month. via jalopnik [PR]