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Melbourne's (f)route Trail Gets a Series of Pop-up Dwellings Designed by Jon Liow & Samson Tiew
(f)route is a travel bureau that organizes tours based around local fruit, art, and community. Based in Melbourne, Australia, the company aims to provide tourists with an experience that is centered around more than just metropolitan areas and urban life. The tour gives participants the chance to meet local artists in studios, fruitists on orchards, and partake in banquets put together by local producers. All this takes part along scenic routes throughout countryside and coastal trails. With an expanding interest in their tours, (f)route extended an invitation to creatives globally to develop a concept for semi-permanent enclosures along the (f)route trail. The brief was to create “a portable, beautiful, bespoke structure designed to provide cosy overnight shelter when walking and cycling the (f)route in East Gippsland, Australia”, and designers Jon Liow and Samson Tiew rose to the task.
The presented concept was based on the quirky notion of a fruit box: “(f)route) box”. Combining the organic aesthetic of the company, with current technology and design, the (f)route box is a compact and bold response to the brief. Utilizing modern building materials and market-ready joinery, the design blends urban luxury with an organic/raw feel. Each unit features four, thick, acrylic sliding doors; offering an alternative to crawling in and out of a canvas tent, they allow the user to be immersed by the surrounding habitat, and open up the space to spectacular views on both sides of the cabin. Meshed privacy blinds provide security and keep insects and other pests out whilst allowing airflow through. They can be zipped up edge to edge to provide a sealed, breathable wall whilst the sliding doors are left open for ventilation.
Solar panels fitted to the top of each unit allow natural sunlight to be the main source of power. Two power points directly feed off each panel, allowing users to charge devices or connect cooking utilities. The cabins maximize sustainability by utilizing natural light and environmental breezes as the main sources of heating and cooling. Each wall, floor, and roof panel is contructed as a sandwich panel with an aluminum honeycomb structure between the plywood facades. These strain-hardened, hexagonal-cell panels are known for their optimum mechanical properties and ability to carry shear loads at much lower weight than foams, other core types, or solid construction panels. Infographics laser-etched onto each cabin highlight different crafts, producers, landmarks and horticulture that participants will experience throughout the journey.
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