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Hide and Sleep

With the classic Murphy bed as muse, Japanese architect Toshihiko Suzuki transformed a standard Airstream into a versatile small wonder.

To maximize the small space inside the Airstream, Suzuki removed the existing structures and added a central island the follows his kenchikukagu style of design. Near the door (front of photo), a sink and cook top is hidden under the steel cover. At the rear (back of the photo), a dining table transforms into a set of twin beds. Photo by Sadamu Saito.

In 2009, architect Toshihiko Suzuki, of Tokyo-based design firm Atelier OPA, applied his Japanese small-space sensibility to a gutted Airstream and created what could be considered the ultimate condensed caravan.

Inside the trailer, Suzuki installed a long island based on kenchikukagu, which means “architectural furniture” and is the name of a collection of his designs. The Kenchikukagu-series Mobile Kitchen, Foldaway Office, and Foldaway Guestroom are each housed in a wooden box that hinges open or expands like an accordion to transform into a room that can later be rolled away. Likewise, the island in the mid-dle of the Airstream folds open to reveal an equipped kitchen and either a dining table for six or two beds, each with its own reading light.

The flexibility of the design adds to the longevity­—–and the sustainability—–of the space, Suzuki says: “Architecture is seldom destroyed because it has a long life span.” So despite the renovated Airstream’s spatial shortcomings, the multitude of possible arrangements means it has miles of road still ahead of it.

To see more images of the project, please visit our slideshow.

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