Meet De Markies, the accordion-style motorhome that triples in size with the push of a button

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The idea of ​​expandable campers is not new, neither the pop-up version nor the fully expandable version. In real life, however, there aren’t many campers who can literally explode up to three times the tow size, which is why concepts that play on the idea are proving so popular. The idea that you could tow a motorhome with a passenger car and then at camp the motorhome would explode into a full-fledged residence is extremely appealing to enthusiasts.

This dream is an old one, and it is most beautifully staged in De Markies, which translates to The Awning but is also called The Accordion. De Markies is a design that dates back to 1985, or what young people today call the Dark Ages, the early days of the internet. It is the creation of the Dutch architect and designer Edouard Böhtlingk and, to this day, it still receives a lot of attention, winning industry awards and, more importantly, being featured at events.

De Markies is not just a concept, since a few prototypes were built before it entered the 1985 Temporary Living competition, which aimed to provide an answer to the question. “How do you define the living space in today’s mobile world? ” Starting from the idea that awnings can create new living spaces or expand existing living spaces, Böhtlingk designed a motorhome that, using awnings (sort of), expands to at three times its towing size.

On the road, the De Markies measures 2 x 4.5 meters (6.5 x 15 feet), but at camp it expands to provide 27 square feet (290 square meters) of living space, more than enough for accommodate six people inside. It also has the amenities for this: the De Markies has a sleeping area divided into two separate areas, a generous living room, a kitchen with dining area and a bathroom. To boot, it’s elegant and warm like few campers are. Sure enough, the style is a bit dated, but that would be just the thing if you like vintage designs.

The middle section consists of a plywood and steel frame that houses the kitchen and bathroom. The furniture is foldable to save space and to allow all the comforts of a real home. You get a dining table for four and a suitable kitchen with oven and burner, sink, refrigerator and cabinets for storage. The bathroom has a toilet, sink and shower.

The sides open like an accordion, with the walls serving as the floor. One side is the sleeping area, so it’s covered with an opaque awning that provides privacy: you actually have two separate sleeping areas here, making it the perfect family vehicle. The beds are single and also folding.

The other side is the living room, covered with transparent and weatherproof plastic. This is the living room, which can be used as a family entertainment room or as a living room. Perhaps more impressive than the accordion approach to maximizing available space is the fact that the two areas are ‘convertible’. Weather permitting, you can retract the awning and sleep under the stars, or turn the living room into an open porch where you can enjoy the sun or the stunning views.

As stated above, the De Markies is an oldie. That said, aside from the fact that he remains relevant – and damn awesome – in 2021, he still receives awards and a lot of attention. It won the Audience Prize at the Rotterdam Design Prize in 1996, and the Urban Camping Prize in 2015. In May 2022, 37 years after its creation, De Markies will make an appearance at the open-air exhibition Open House at the park Lullin, near Geneva, where the theme will be housing, “Whether temporary, mobile, experimental or utopian.

With so much attention and the boom in sales of motorhomes and mini-houses, one can only hope that someone will come and offer to turn the De Markies into a mass product.


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