Architect Christopher Deam has been working with trailer manufacturer Airstream for 13 years now, producing stunning modern interiors that wow every design show they get towed to. Joyce Wadler interviews him for the New York Times, and he explains how he got into it; after designing a small house with very efficient space, modelled on trailers and boats, he thought he would approach Airstream. He was turned down, with them saying “You’re just not for our audience.” He then built a mobile showroom out of a trailer for another client.
What I found was, you had this great streamlined aerodynamic modern exterior, and then you opened the door and it was like grandma’s kitchen. There was a disconnect between the exterior and the interior. You approached the trailer and there was the magic promise of the future, and you walk in and it was like a log cabin on wheels. What we decided was, we had to do some kind of archaeology, stripping it down and getting rid of all the gewgaws and clunky interior, and taking it back to something really essential. I simplified it and emphasized the horizontal lines and put in a lot of fluid, curved laminates. We took that trailer to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, and we got the attention of an Airstream executive.
Airstream has been working with him ever since, although you wouldn't get a hint of it from their website, he is still really not for their audience. But it is a fascinating example of what we have seen in the prefab industry as well: the companies are set in their ways and are not really interested in change. Read it all in the New York Times.
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