NYT Sits Down With Designer Christopher Deam
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article featuring a Q&A with Christopher C. Deam, who has designed several units for Airstream Inc., including the new Sterling Concept trailer. To view the entire article click here.
If you’re the sort who falls into an escapist dream at the sight of an Airstream trailer, you may want to stop and see the company’s latest, the Sterling Concept Trailer, being shown in Palm Springs, Calif., this weekend as part of Modernism Week. Designed by Christopher C. Deam, a San Francisco architect who has been helping Airstream with its interior design for 13 years, it is still a prototype that may or may not be put into production.
You would certainly want to wipe the campground mud off your shoes before walking into this trailer. The aluminum interior is sleek and shining, with a queen-size bed, a streamlined bathroom with a shower and rounded cabinets for the sink, and capsule-shaped accent windows. And, of course, the trailer is Wi-Fi ready.
Deam, who runs CCD Architecture-Furniture, is married to Lara Hedberg Deam, the founder of Dwell magazine. They have 9-year-old twins, Cal, a son, and Macy, a daughter, and have done a bit of trailer travel themselves. Recently, Mr. Deam talked about his work.
How did you get involved in trailer design?
I was remodeling my brother Eric’s house with my friend Thom Faulders. This was around 1996. It was very small, like a 26-by-26 box, and we were looking at really efficient uses of space. So we turned our eyes to boats and R.V.’s to figure it out. The house won an A.I.A. Award and was in Sunset magazine, and they titled it “The Airstream Cottage.”
A light bulb went off in my head, and I thought, “I have to approach Airstream.” My idea was to review their interiors.
How did that work out?
They turned me down. They were, “You’re just not for our audience.” But then the opportunity arose for me to do a project with Wilsonart. They make plastic laminates. We came up with the idea of using a trailer for their trade show booth. Honestly, before the trailer arrived in my shop, I had never set foot in an R.V. before. For my brother’s house we had just looked at pictures.
What I found was, you had this great streamlined aerodynamic modern exterior, and then you opened the door and it was like grandma’s kitchen. There was a disconnect between the exterior and the interior. You approached the trailer and there was the magic promise of the future, and you walk in and it was like a log cabin on wheels. What we decided was, we had to do some kind of archaeology, stripping it down and getting rid of all the gewgaws and clunky interior, and taking it back to something really essential. I simplified it and emphasized the horizontal lines and put in a lot of fluid, curved laminates. We took that trailer to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, and we got the attention of an Airstream executive.
To view the entire article click here.