Airstream Renovation for a Mobile Shop, Los Angeles, California, 2015

Team: Andrew Kovacs, Naomi Steinhagen, Jeisler Salunga

Project Description:

This project plays upon and amplifies the use of found objects in architecture. The largest found object of the project is the project itself - the Airstream - with at least one new use after its original it was now to be transformed into a mobile shop that would wander California and sell swimsuits. The client wanted a nomadic museum for their swimsuits but did not have the budget for a museum, and the existing state of Airstream was far from the condition of a museum. Nonetheless, almost everything was made white - the interior was painted white, new storage benches were painted white, and the floor was white Astroturf. A number of brightly colorful elements countered this white backdrop - the curtain to the changing room was a green leaf pattern, a colossal yellow and orange blow up lobster occupied a storage bench, and a translucent piece of blue polycarbonate replaced a wooden hatch.

To display the swimsuits a number of useless found objects were collected and conceptually recast. Each object had to fit within a certain dimension when rotated as well as function as an apparatus to hang the swimsuits. Found objects that were collected shared certain qualities - there were a number of miniature souvenirs of architecture, a number of discarded collectible kitsch animals, a number of various hands and fingers that are normally used to display jewelry. Found objects that also had functional properties such as handles, door stops, glasses, and salt and pepper shakers became totally useless to their original function when reoriented to be an apparatus to hang the swimsuits. Finally, there were also found objects that met all the functional criteria but were one-offs: a dinosaur butt, a used He-Man children’s toy that was specifically selected by the client, and a miniature toy train that when placed on the vertical surface of the airstream resonated with René Magritte’s painting from 1938, Time Transfixed.