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Prefab Chic and the Hotel Room

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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