Classic 1960s Airstream is ready for work and play
The Airstream trailer is a bona fide icon, so it's best to tread carefully when modifying one. Thankfully, Edmonds + Lee Architects did a fine job turning this model into a modern portable office and dwelling, complete with a desk that converts into a bed and custom automated gadgetry courtesy of Nest.
The Kugelschiff (or "bullet ship") is based on an Airstream Bambi II, a one-year-only model produced in 1964. It had been sold and sent to Germany but new owner Jeff Kleck, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who teaches at Stanford University, had it shipped back to the States, where Edmonds + Lee Architects, headed by project designer Shelley Fu, and builder Sergey Shevchuk of Silver Bullet Trailers got to work. Kleck's daughter, an industrial designer, was also involved – indeed she persuaded her dad to buy one in the first place.
While the exterior has largely been left as-is, the team collaborated to design a custom interior that makes the most of the 80 sq ft (7.4 sq m) of space available. It's very nicely done, with oak cabinetry and Corian surfaces, as well as an ash floor, lending a high-end feel. The sofa is finished in Maharam wool and it also boasts an Eero Saarinen table and Eames chair.
"A collaborative effort that brought together every piece of the Kugelschiff puzzle — including Jeff's industrial designer daughter, Alaina — we created a space that serves as both office and retreat, with things hidden, folded into the walls and cabinetry, under seat cushions, things that flipped open and folded down, a single enclosed space that could be anything at all Jeff ever needed it to be," says Edmonds + Lee Architects. "The kitchen is marked — or rather not marked — by a hidden sink and refrigerator, the desk gets pushed down into a bed, and the meeting space folds out into a dining space."
The Kugelschiff gets power from solar panels, a battery array, an RV-style hookup and a generator, and has a Wi-Fi repeater and cellular signal booster installed to ensure the internet stays connected . Kleck even managed to convince Nest to design and install a unique home automation system.
"Jeff reached out to Nest, inquiring about something that had never been done before: installing the full capabilities of the intelligent Nest system into the power system that runs an independent Airstream," adds Edmonds + Lee Architects. "And as was the theme for the project, the people at Nest got excited and got folded into the process, becoming partners in the effort. They provided the Airstream with a thermostat, smoke and CO2 monitor, camera, alarm system, and Google Home to control it all, even from a distance. They showed up on-site to do custom wiring to the Airstream's batteries and generator, modifying the stock product to integrate it into the new space — with plans now to produce that modification as its own product."
Kleck now uses his Airstream as a mobile office and camper, heading to the desert, mountains, and beach as his mood takes him. We've no word on the price for this one but it obviously wasn't done on the cheap.
Source: Edmonds + Lee Architects