Who says being on the go or hitting the outdoors means sacrificing life’s modern luxuries? Trailers today are definitely not like those from your parents’ old camping trips. Like the Sealander and Escapod, modern campers today have a clean, minimalist vibe as well as full and innovative functionality and tech. Others like the Airstream Tommy Bahama Relax Edition Travel Trailer take the road life and glamping to a whole new level of luxury. Robert Edmonds of Edmonds + Lee Architects combined all these elements of minimalism, functionality, and luxury and created the Kugelschiff. The Kugelschiff takes the form of a glistening vintage Airstream Bambi II. At just 80 square feet, this small wonder was created as a flexible live-work space for a tech entrepreneur. The Kugelschiff is German for “bullet ship” and its small stature and shining, reflective shell definitely lives up to the name.
A small space for big ideas
The Kugelschiff came to be at the request of tech entrepreneur Jeff Kleck and his daughter Alaina, an industrial designer. Kleck works from home and travels between projects, so he wanted a mobile space that could accommodate both work and life. He also needed this space to be comfortable and big enough for small meetings. As someone working in tech, Kleck needed something high tech with a good internet and cloud connection.
Kleck and his daughter concluded that a midcentury Airstream was the answer. After a year’s search, he finally found an Airstream Bambi II, an iconic trailer model from 1964-65. He wanted the Airstream to be fitted with modern interiors and contemporary tech and enlisted Edmonds to redesign the interior. Edmonds took influence from aeronautical architecture, designing the space without boundaries, edges, and corners, and with flexibility in mind. The Kugelschiff was for work and home after all!
Minimalist, but widely functional
There’s something about understated design that says a lot. Built by Sergey Shevchuk of Silver Bullet Trailer, Edmonds’ design primarily featured light and welcoming elements. The aluminum interior wall panels were painted a glossy white, which minimized clutter and accentuated light and space. The flooring and cabinetry were white ash and countertops were Corian. The furniture was top-tier as well. The Airstream was outfitted with an Eero Saarinen-designed Tulip table, Charles and Ray Eames-designed chairs, and built-in bench cushions upholstered with Maharam wool.
Since the Kugelschiff has to transform from work to home, Edmonds’ design incorporated a lot of multifunctional furniture. All the storage and equipment for the Airstream to travel and function off grid is within the kitchen cabinets and seating or concealed in the floors and walls. When the kitchen isn’t being used, the sink can be hidden with a removable panel. The refrigerator is also concealed below the counter and behind the millwork. Edmonds also designed a desk set on pistons that can be lowered to the height of an adjacent bench and convert to a bed. The Kugelschiff uses NEST and Google to keep the trailer and Kleck comfortable and connected.
Kleck takes his new home to the mountains, the desert, and the beach to work and he can unwind in the middle of nowhere. Sure, it’s a jump from “regular” life, but the Kugelschiff makes living off grid very tempting. Learn More