An experimental project called NOT A HOTEL ANYWHERE was initiated to design a new, mobile way of living using vintage trailers. Developed by Japanese firm DDAA, the project aimed to provide a location-independent lifestyle by offering five vehicles for rent, each equipped with a specific function like a bedroom or study car. The concept aimed to enhance the living experience compared to traditional homes, allowing individuals to choose a vehicle based on their needs and embark on a journey without being tied to a specific location.
Among the five vehicles, two larger ones were refurbished Spartan models, while the remaining three were camping trailers manufactured by Airstream. These vehicles were carefully selected to include functions that are not easily accessible locally, such as a bath, kitchen, sunakku (also known as a “snack bar”), as well as private spaces like a bedroom and study. These functions were reconfigured to fit within the vehicles.
To create a more luxurious atmosphere, one of the larger vehicles was transformed into a spacious living room. Additionally, by setting up a tarp between the vehicles, a generous outdoor living room could be created, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in the surrounding environment wherever they traveled. On rainy days, the larger bedroom vehicle could serve as a substitute for a living room.
To ensure mobility and the ability to enjoy various landscapes, the project does not have a specific site. However, the design must be adaptable to different environments while embracing the uniqueness of each location. To provide a 360-degree view from the windows, the upper and lower portions of the trailer use different materials, with all necessary functions concentrated in the lower part.
Furniture pieces that protrude into the upper portion are designed with mesh or transparent materials to avoid obstructing the view. The vintage trailer’s existing texture is maintained, with minimal modifications for waterproofing. At the client’s request, the design includes a sunakku, a type of hostess bar that is part of Japan’s unique night culture, with velvet upholstered high stools, a karaoke monitor, and luxurious-looking materials to create a sunakku-like atmosphere.
The team had to carefully consider the placement of necessary functions in each room while also ensuring that all requirements for driving on public roads were met. This included the installation of license plates and addressing the protrusion of box-like wheelhouses into the interior. To maintain a seamless floor plan in Bedroom 2, they strategically positioned a large bed to cover the wheelhouses, effectively concealing them from view.
Infrastructure posed a significant challenge in planning for a mobile and unconstrained lifestyle. DDAA recognized that the specifications for essential living equipment, such as electricity and water, would vary depending on the number of occupants. To accommodate three families with eight members each, they meticulously organized the infrastructure conditions to minimize any inconvenience or stress.
They also explored the possibility of going completely off-grid, considering options like solar panels and on-site power generation. However, they realized that relying solely on autonomous decentralized infrastructure would require additional equipment and hinder travel, contradicting the project’s original purpose.
Ultimately, the team decided on a system that allowed for temporary connection to existing infrastructure while maintaining off-grid compatibility. They chose a site in Aoshima, Miyazaki Prefecture, which served as a base camp with the open sea in front of it. This strategic location provided the necessary infrastructure support while still allowing for an independent and self-sustaining lifestyle.