Aether's Airstream

written by:
October 27, 2011

Here at Dwell, we love all things Airstream, that modernist silver bullet racing toward the freedom of the open road. And though some of the best Airstream design takes the object as a mobile home, French designer Thierry Gaugain (a decades-long lieutenant of Philipe Starck) has recently reimagined it as a mobile shop, or as he puts it, "a toy chest on wheels." Gaugain was employed by the outdoor clothing brand Aether to design a kind of mobile command unit to help sell its gear. The concept is that this Airstream is the home of a wandering adventurer who travels the world and occasionally sells what he's picked up along the way. I met Gaugain here in San Francisco last week and he took me through the design.

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  The AetherStream, as the company calls it, is presently in Los Angeles, though it will be setting out in early November for New York. Instead of a pop-up shop, the idea is to have a kind of mobile shop, one that functions just as well on the beach as in a downtown lot. The Airstream itself is a 34-foot PanAmerica model. Gaugain calls it a "beautiful, technological object."
    The AetherStream, as the company calls it, is presently in Los Angeles, though it will be setting out in early November for New York. Instead of a pop-up shop, the idea is to have a kind of mobile shop, one that functions just as well on the beach as in a downtown lot. The Airstream itself is a 34-foot PanAmerica model. Gaugain calls it a "beautiful, technological object."
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  Here's a view of the interior, which houses a fireplace by the contemporary fireplace company Focus and custom furniture (including the workbench) built by the L.A. firm Environment. The floor is made of reclaimed oak from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. In keeping with the vagabond adventurer, Gaugain told me that the workbench is the kind of place where he might repair his motorcycle or wax his skis.
    Here's a view of the interior, which houses a fireplace by the contemporary fireplace company Focus and custom furniture (including the workbench) built by the L.A. firm Environment. The floor is made of reclaimed oak from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. In keeping with the vagabond adventurer, Gaugain told me that the workbench is the kind of place where he might repair his motorcycle or wax his skis.
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  Call it a kind of "brand experience" but you're meant to enter Aether's world inside the Airstream, and the other objects (books, camping gear) all reinforce the idea of a well-curated manly getaway.
    Call it a kind of "brand experience" but you're meant to enter Aether's world inside the Airstream, and the other objects (books, camping gear) all reinforce the idea of a well-curated manly getaway.
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  Even our restless adventurer needs a place to lay his head.
    Even our restless adventurer needs a place to lay his head.
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  Gaugain told me that although much of the work for the AetherStream was custom, he and Aether's founders wanted a degree of vintage bric-a-brac to give the space the sense of having been around the block a time or two. Gaugain sourced much of what you see inside from his favorite Parisian flea markets. "A toy chest on wheels for a guy."
    Gaugain told me that although much of the work for the AetherStream was custom, he and Aether's founders wanted a degree of vintage bric-a-brac to give the space the sense of having been around the block a time or two. Gaugain sourced much of what you see inside from his favorite Parisian flea markets. "A toy chest on wheels for a guy."
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  A quick glimpse of the back opened up. As you can see, not every square foot is devoted to retail. "The purpose is not to have a 100% efficient shop," says Gaugain. Instead he wants to suggest "the life of the story," as opposed to creating a strictly commercial experience. Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    A quick glimpse of the back opened up. As you can see, not every square foot is devoted to retail. "The purpose is not to have a 100% efficient shop," says Gaugain. Instead he wants to suggest "the life of the story," as opposed to creating a strictly commercial experience.

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