Innovation That Matters

Folding camper reborn as stylish pop-up lodging

Travel & Tourism

Once popular in Europe, folding campers have come to struggle with a bit of an image problem. They’re practical and make for cheap travel, but have as much sex appeal as an orthopedic shoe. Aiming to change that is Opera, a foldout trailer that’s as eyecatching and luxurious as it is convenient. Designed by Axel Enthoven, who has led the department of Man & Mobility at Eindhoven’s Design Academy since 1989, the Opera’s overlapping domed tent is unabashedly inspired by the Sydney Opera House. It folds out of the trailer in minutes, revealing a sleek interior that includes hot and cold running water, a toilet, a simple stove, a wine cabinet and an espresso bar. As well as two luxury beds that slide together at the push of a button. And an enclosed teak veranda. More compact than a full-sized recreational vehicle, the Opera allows travelers further off the beaten track, which is why it’s being marketed as “your suite in nature”. The concept will no doubt appeal to a new breed of nomads who want the feeling of roughing it out in the bush, without the actual roughness. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced—Opera will be officially launched in December and taken into production in 2010—but it’s safe to say that the company is targeting the high end of the market. (Related: Pop-up cabins designed for stargazingUpscale camping at summer music festivalsFarm camping in cottage-style tents.)


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