Look out your front door. What do you see? For a new globally-connected generation of adventurers who have taken their lives on the move, seeing something new and exciting has become the norm.
The New Nomads: Temporary Spaces and a Life on the Move celebrates the artists, architects, musicians and creative entrepreneurs who have embraced a wandering lifestyle to allow a deeper interaction with the urban or natural world around them.
For people who grew up globally-connected thanks to the internet, ‘Home Sweet Home’ is a thing of the past. Instead, they travel through co-working spaces, mobiles homes, countries and continents, in search of inspiration, new experiences and an international exchange of ideas – and embrace sharing, sustainable materials and building techniques to minimise their impact.
We spoke to New Nomads editor Sven Ehmann to find out more and have selected our five favourite homes and projects below from the book below.
What’s really ‘new’ about today’s nomads? How do they differ from people who have always been on the move in the past?
You are certainly right to point out that humans have always been on the move somehow, for a variety of reasons and in a variety of different ways. The key difference is that today’s new nomads are fully integrated in terms of work life and social life. They are not forced to move, but rather have chosen to. Wherever they go, they are not outsiders. They are part of an international and very well-connected community of like-minded people.
Are we reversing the trend of the 20th century and beginning to re-prioritising public space over private space in the 21st century?
Looking at the phenomenon of co-working spaces all around the world – and at the habit of taking work from the office into the public realm – I think it is fair to say that the public space is growing in importance.
At the same time, we need to be aware that what we perceive as public space is actually privately-owned commercial space. It is also very interesting to see how private space is becoming commercialised through flat-sharing offers. My home is now your castle…
In the book’s intro there’s a great phrase, that says the new nomads represent “the desire to break both into and free of urban life.” Could you explore this idea?
The new nomads want to be free, independent and on the road. They are not looking for lifetime work contracts or lifelong relationships in a traditional sense; they are not as interested in buying a home or building a house as former generations have been.
On the one hand, they like the comfort of urban life and everything they need is there – from wifi connections and co-working spaces to yoga teachers and social networks. But, on the other hand, they are not an inhabitant of one place. Instead, they live digitally in all cities at once. Every once in a while, though, they need a break at a lake or in a canoe as well. And they might even compromise on an internet connection… at least for a weekend or so.
Huck’s five favourite nomads
Surf Sauna by Port City Makerspace
To surf the chilly and tempestuous waters of the New England coast, it helps to know warmth is just a short walk away. Built by a tight knit group of surfers and craftsmen from the Port City Makerspace in New Hampshire, this barrel-shaped red cedar trailer provides a tiny but well-earned shelter and sauna after a session in the icy surf.
Walking House by N55
This modular dwelling system collects energy from its surroundings using solar cells to move slowly through the city or countryside with minimal impact on the environment. Sustainability and self-sufficiency are at the heart of the design and the elevated, geometric shelter has a rainwater collection system, solar heated hot water and a composting toilet system. When additional units come together, they form new communities of mobile villages.
Ta di Oto by Bureau A
You can eat or purchase almost anything from the back of bicycle in Vietnam. Responding to Hanoi’s densely-woven urban fabric, this bicycle-mobile tower allows a variety of uses and activities, from a street food restaurant to a mini-concert hall to a poetry podium, and more.
Inflato Dumpster by John Locke
Dumpsters might just be the next big thing after shipping crates for imaginative architects working on a tight budget. John Locke’s inflatable classroom hosts a number of workshops and events and was built a crowd-funded 3,685 euros. The rooftop canopy allows atmospheric lighting and is flexible and demountable, depending on what is happening in the space.
Saunalautta by Santeri Hiltunen
Part raft and part boat, Santeri Hiltunen’s Saunalautta (also pictured above) truly is a sight to behold. Its multi-level floating structure features a sauna, cabin, sun deck, diving tower, a barbecue spot and, most importantly, four hammocks. If you needed any more reason to jump aboard, it’s sustainable too, with heat from the sauna stove also warming the shower and cabin space.
Check out The New Nomads: Temporary Spaces and a Life on the Move, out now, published by Gestalten.