By Janice Harris
There’s a lot to see here at Dwell on Design. This trade event, which brings together thousands of movers and shakers in the design and architecture industries, is chock-full of exhibits, speakers, special events, and interactive activations.
One of the biggest installations this year, The Living Vehicle, immediately stood out to us at House Tipster and also to trade show expert, Christopher Grubb. With over two decades of interior and product design experience, President of Arch-Interiors Design Group, Christopher Grubb, knows good design when he sees it-- and The Living Vehicle is a good design. “The lines to get in here are amazing,” Christopher explained.
Although The Living Vehicle was drawing big crowds, Matthew Hofmann, CEO and Founder of Hofmann Architecture and the brainchild behind The Living Vehicle, spent time chatting with Christopher Grubb about this transformative, modern, on-the-go home.
Christopher Grubb (C.G.): The Living Vehicle is a great product; it’s modern, mobile living for sure. It feels like the epitome of small, smart space. Tell us about your company and how you started with The Living Vehicle.
Matthew Hofmann (M.H.): Although we’re just about a year old now, this doesn’t preclude our experience. In fact, we’ve been in the industry for 8 years; building custom interiors from blank canvases. But The Living Vehicle was our first soiree in a ground-up project that is built specifically with full-time use in mind.
Today, The Living Vehicle includes 220 sq. feet of living space and there’s, remarkably, sleeping for 6. It also comes fully-functional and ready for everyday use. We put in a dishwasher, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and everything else someone would need to live off-grid. It’s possible for someone to get out in the desert and exist up to a month with the same luxuries they’d have at home, including Wi-Fi.
In short, The Living Vehicle provides all the luxuries of home, but with a mobile and friendly experience.
C.G.: The technology here is notable, especially because it’s all self-contained. Can you explain how you keep The Living Vehicle charged?
M.H.: We designed The Living Vehicle to be as user-friendly as possible. Although it looks simple, minimal, and clean on the outside, there’s a lot of technology going on behind the scenes. This unit is powered by a solar array that converts power from the sun into 110 power. But, just in case it’s not sunny, or you need alternative energy, we also include backup generators and propane power.
C.G.: What are the options buyers have when looking to purchase one? Do you have standard finishes and are there upgrades available? Is customization an option?
M.H.: The unit, as it’s configured now, is shipping out to customers in June. Buyers can definitely pick and choose the finishes, including the cabinet color, flooring, etc. You can also customize your functional aspects, such as deck options and the configuration of the master bedroom.
In 2019, we’re going to start offering a completely configurable model that you can customize to your heart’s content.
C.G.: The control panel, which I keep referring to as “Command Central” has a lot of buttons. Tell me more about this setup.
M.H.: This Living Vehicle is a prototype that we’ve been using as a testing ground for new options and technologies. Some of the buttons you see here are antiquated, while others are brand new.
To keep the vehicle clean and simple, we strive to put all these control features in one easy to access space.
C.G.: Here in Los Angeles, we live in the land of 6-figure cars, but The Living Vehicle is luxurious and reasonably priced at $89,000. What do buyers get when they purchase this mobile vehicle?
M.H.: It’s true, the base Living Vehicle starts at $89,000, and that amount changes depending on the options chosen. The model here at Dwell on Design is $149,000. Every vehicle in American-made in Indiana, comes with free delivery, and we also offer an Ambassador program because we’re big believers in customer service. So, when we ship out your vehicle, you can have someone walk you through how to use the product. In the end, we absolutely believe that good customer service is a part of the product’s quality.
The Living Vehicle is, hands-down, one of the most exciting products we’ve seen thus far. We want to extend a special thank you to Christopher Grubb and Matthew Hofmann for this special look at the future of mobile living.