May 05, 2009

In this age of mobile living, things shrink, then go portable—it happened to our stereos, and now it’s happening to our hotel rooms. Whitepod, whose dome-shaped tents set the standard for prefab chic when they debuted in 2004 as an eco-friendly ski camp in the Swiss Alps, will unveil its Summerpods (green canvas structures, with a convertible roof for stargazing) in June. Also launching this summer is Travelodge’s glass Travelpod, a soundproof mobile room designed as a tent alternative; the prototype will make the rounds at outdoor festivals in the U.K. And taking Whitepod’s extreme-climate accommodations one step further is a team of architects from London and Munich, whose two-ton Micro-Compact Homes can be airlifted to high altitudes and withstand temperatures as punishing as 22 degrees below zero; kitchens and TV’s are folded into the structures like blades in a Swiss Army knife.

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