World famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has a diverse portfolio of work, but none of his designs so far have prepared us for this tiny, humble trailer he created for outdoor gear company Snow Peak. The plywood trailer, dubbed ‘Jyubako’, is a minimalist’s dream come true, offering a portable shelter against the elements for all sorts of outdoor adventures, without any built-in expectations of how it might be used. While Snow Peak has spent decades catering primarily to mountaineers and backpackers, this partnership with the architect was formed expressly to create a shelter “for another nomadic lifestyle.
Snow Peak is a Japan-based maker of technical outdoor gear founded in 1958. Now a global retailer with two stores in the US, the company produces everything from nearly indestructible titanium mugs and utensils to stoves, tents, and even camping furniture. All of their pieces are thoughtfully designed with real-world use in mind, but Kengo Kuma’s tiny minimalist trailer takes the cake (or, perhaps more appropriately for the camping crowd, the s’more).
The trailer’s walls are lined in raw plywood, mimicking the bare bones functionality of the tatami mats found in traditional Japanese homes. The tiny portable shelter has a few clever features integrated into its design, which other trailer makers should heed post-haste. When closed up in traveling mode, the trailer is a sheltered box, but when parked at camp, its window and door coverings become awnings and tables, creating much-needed usable surfaces without requiring extra pieces of furniture. Beyond that, the trailer is a blank canvas to be utilized in whatever way its owners see fit.
The renowned architect’s unique trailer is available for purchase from Snow Peak for $33,800 (3.5 million yen), tax excluded, for a basic model. A tiny shelter on wheels with LEDs and a bed platform will cost a little more. Right now, sales are limited to those within the company, but the retailer said general sales will be offered next spring.
Images via Kengo Kuma and Associates