Nomadic floating shelter gets towed to the water by bike
London-based artist and designer, Daniel Durnin has created a nomadic floating shelter that can also be towed by a bicycle. Dubbed WaterBed, the tiny wooden shelter accommodates one person with Durnin hoping to bring life back to urban waterways by creating a new way to camp on the water.
"TheWaterBed was inspired by the nature and canal network within urban environments,specifically London," Daniel Durnin tells Gizmag. "It wasan idea for a platform to reconnect with our surroundings and thebeauty that we live within but often overlook."
TheWaterBed offers a simple adventure experience that lies somewherebetween camping and small-scale tourism. It was originallyintended for users to set up a floating camp within an urbanlandscape with inland waterways or canals but it could easily beadapted to alternative city environments, such as Amsterdam or NewYork. Furthermore, keeping the WaterBed on land the shelter acts as acomfortable and easy to use instant retreat, without the fuss ofsetting up a tent.
"Forme it’s the experience that you get using it, its quite magical tocycle alonga path and then just push the WaterBed into the water and climb aboard. It's so relaxing and calming just enjoying your surroundings,"says Durnin.
Drawingupon his background in furniture design and cabinet making, Durninchose to hand build the very first WaterBed prototype using woodenmaterials. His design of the shelter focused on simplicity andproviding minimal requirements for comfort and ease of use.
One person can easily slide the floating shelter into the bank and a couple of ropes secure it to the land and prevent it from floating away. Inside the shelter users can enjoy comfortable cushioned seating, which transform into bedding at night time, and a fold down side table perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee or a simple meal on the canal.
TheWaterBed also features lots of windows and open air, enhancing the user'sexperience with the landscape, be it an urban canal, river or openbushland setting. Big opening windows at either end of the shelteroffer views in both directions, coupled with the large retractablecanvas located on the water-side of the boat. All windows andopenings can be closed with curtains for privacy and/or shade.
"Theidea was always to provide a connection to the WaterBed'ssurroundings, so I took a minimal approach in its design", saysDurnin. "I chose wood as the main material, not only for itstraditional use in constructing boats, but also for its environmental credentials.It also fits and complements its surroundings."
Thefloating shelter is relatively easy to tow on the back of a bicycle with a simple clip-on attachment. Weighing close to 75kg (165 lb) in total, it is however a little on the heavy side if you're cycling uphill. On the plus side, the weight does make the boat more stablein the water, providing a better night's sleep.
"Asthis was the first prototype its most probably over engineered,"says Durnin. "I employed traditional boat building techniquesand, as with all boats, providing good maintenance it will last a longtime. I tested it in Oxfordshire in the summer, it was comfortableand exciting. It's like being in a tent but you're on water!"
Withhis primary goal to inspire people to rediscover their urbanlandscapes, Durnin hopes to see his WaterBed being manufactured forcommercial release or even developed further into open source and DIYplans.
"Iam working on the Mk2 version of the WaterBed at the moment, andlooking to expandthe scope of the existing project," says Durnin. "I’mvery interested in the way we see ourselves in our environment andlike to challenge that so I am working on moreinterventions as well."