Vibrant, practical design adds many options for caravansThe Romotow in the caravan park

A Christchurch company has come up with a revolutionary caravan design that aims to breathe new life into the traditional image of the clunky box that holds up holiday traffic.

The Romotow is a dramatic design by Christchurch design consultancy W2 – the first creative work on the caravan for decades.

It’s the first really dramatic reinvention on the caravan since the 1960s, company directors Matt Wilkie and Stuart Winterbourn reckon. It’s a caravan for generation Y, “the next frontier in mobile living”.

On the road the Romotow looks like a contemporary designed, standard caravan. But when you get to the caravan park the living area swivels out from an exterior shell, adding up to 70 percent more living space as well as a covered outdoor section complete with fold-out barbecue.

“The concept is from the Swiss army knife and being able to open up all your gadgets,” Wilkie said.

With traditional caravan designs if you were inside it, you were often hot, and not really involved in the environment you were in, Winterbourn said.

Three years from their first concept for the Romotow (an amalgamation of the The Romotow in the caravan parkphrase “room to move”), the firm has secured a New Zealand patent for its design and a PCT – an international provisional patent.

W2 expects the largest markets for the Romotow would be Europe and the United States, but Australia’s “grey nomads” also presented a potentially significant market. Wilkie, an interior designer, and Winterbourn, a structural engineer, started W2 in 2007, offering residential and commercial design services.

Wilkie and Winterbourn are eyeing caravan manufacturers, particularly in the US, to manufacture their design. Market research shows the 900 recreational vehicle manufacturers in the United States generate a combined annual revenue of $10 billion.

Australian caravaners, the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association and other organisations, all confirm that the caravan, motorhome and camping industry is the fastest growing domestic tourism sector. This increase has been enhanced by improvements in both caravan quality and campsite facilities making mobile living possible at any time of the year.

The Romotow capitalises on this demand as a head-turning patented innovation that promises a stress free, spacious and comfy escape for all sorts of exciting outdoor adventures. Its point of difference is a living area that uniquely extends out from its sheltered exterior, with an ingenious automated swivel, to reveal up to 70% more floor area to enjoy.

Features include aerodynamic and lightweight construction for increased fuel efficiency and towing stability, power assisted braking, pneumatic shocks, gyro assisted self-levelling pads and struts, and a rear mounted camera. Fit-out variations can include a sheltered BBQ deck area for entertaining and relaxing, a windbreak, sliding doors, louvered windows, stylish and easy clean furniture, and more.

Designed for both young and old, with unprecedented indoor-outdoor flow and modern stylish living, use of this innovation will only be limited by the buyer’s imagination and pocket.

W2 is now approaching leading caravan manufacturers with the view of building a prototype for testing and fitting and eventual production, and is seeking feedback from the public as the designs are refined. W2 first played with the idea of what an extendable mobile living space should look like while enjoying a family picnic at the park.

“Often the negatives of campervans and RV’s (compared with larger tents) are the expense and lack of covered transitional space. While looking at the movement of a Swiss army knife at our picnic, an idea came to us on how we could create this covered area. We then sketched a ‘mobile living’ unit that could be anything: a caravan, a mobile cafe, a home office, a weekend escape, or a new lifestyle of discovery and wonder for retirees – and from that moment the concept took on a life of its own.”

“The need for a flexible, compact, spacious and convenient mobile living area is also on the rise. But there is not a single design that can meet everyone’s needs. The Romotow can provide this flexibility,” says Stuart Winterbourn.

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