New Camper Concept Takes A Wrong Turn

I've never been a fan of the ubiquitous rectangular motor homes that resemble little more than giant shoeboxes on wheels, but the new Inhalt concept camper that's being billed as the solution to boxy, cookie-cutter RVs appears to be as much an answer to unimaginative design as half a ton of dynamite is to a beached whale.

Its creators, Christian Freisling and Thersa Kalteis of Graz University of Technology in Austria, insist that their "multicellular caravan" fills a need for individualist tourists looking for tailor-made travel digs. Using an online wizard, users can choose a layout that suits their needs, and a computer generates the configuration. As their Web site explains in typical, artistic obfuscation:

The caravans are produced using the principles of "mass customization": this allows both the individual wishes of the customer to be accommodated while producing the caravan with series methods.

The result, for lack of an appropriate word, is a bloatangular offense to both aesthetics and aerodynamics. To a fan of simple and elegant midcentury design, the polyhedral mess that is the Inhalt looks like a tangram with the mumps. The interior, though somewhat less repulsive, resembles an escape pod from a budget-disadvantaged '70s space thriller.

Honestly, if you're in the market for a camper with character, do yourself a favor and find a classic little teardrop or any model Airstream, past or present.

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