A Wohnwagon is neither a regular trailer, nor a simple tiny home. It is a perfect mix of both, and it’s also absolutely self-sufficient.
Today we meet Theresa Steininger, the managing director at Wohnwagon company, to talk about their unusual trailer homes and the dreams of making the world a better and more sustainable place to live in.
Christian Frantal, now the creative director of the company, came up with the idea of a Wohnwagon three years ago. Theresa tells the story of how it all have started: Christian had been involved with the issue of self-sufficiency for a long time and put a lot of thought into the question of how sustainable living could look like in the future. When he told me about it, I was thrilled and knew that we had to make this idea happen!
We asked ourselves the question: What do you really need for a good life? How can we find answers for the challenges our society struggles with today? We wanted to show people that the real luxury of our time is the reduction to the essential things and that living sustainable, independent and small can actually be something really awesome.
So Theresa and Christian founded the company, launched a crowdfunding campaign and started building a prototype for their first trailer home, a Wohnwagon. I call it a trailer home although it is not exactly that, as it is only semi-mobile. It has wheels and it is possible to tow it, Theresa explains. But it is not meant for driving on holiday with it, it is a flexible home that can easily be relocated when needed.
The wheels have other advantages than just mobility – because it is not technically a building, its legal situation is different than the one of a regular house. It might be easier to get a permission to put up the Wohnwagon in places where you usually couldn’t live, Theresa says. And thanks to its autarky systems, the wagon doesn’t need any connection to external electricity, water or waste systems, – so you can live completely off the grid without sacrificing your living standards.
Sacrificing your standards is the furthest thing from one’s mind while looking at the interior of a Wohnwagon. It’s stylish and practical at the same time: a lot of windows to let the daylight in, slide-out storage and fold-out furniture make you forget that the space is only 25 m2 (269 ft2) big. Theresa shares: We wanted to combine earthy, rustic and natural materials with modern and bright interior design. The interior is also adapted to the wishes of every customer.
But Wohnwagon company is much more than beautifully decorated trailer homes. They are also building a webshop for sustainable living and even organize workshops available for everybody. Although it sounds quite unusual, Theresa explains it like a natural move. We really want to make the world a better place and inspire people to take steps towards a more self-sustained and sustainable living. We want to offer them different ways of support like our workshops, online tutorials, blogs and also useful products in our webshop.
Sustainability is important for us because we believe that it is the only responsible way to set up your business. It has just always been there as some kind of ethical standard to make our decisions. And customers also demand it! Especially when it comes to living spaces, people think more and more about what materials they want in their direct environment and about how healthy they are. They look for long-term quality more than the cheapest possible price, which is a great development I think. This way we are also able to support local producers that we work with and create an additional value for everyone!
As absolutely self-sufficient living still requires investments, Theresa’s future plans include selling enough Wohnwagons so that she could afford her own. And what about the company’s future plans? They are not any less ambitious. We want to become the first address for independent and sustainable living. You know this feeling of looking at our world and constantly thinking: “It can’t go on like this”? Looking at climate change, the waste of resources in our world and so on – it is quite obvious that something has to change but people lack ideas on how this change could look like and how they can start it.
We want to fundamentally change that and offer hands-on solutions for all kinds of living situations in order to help people to take steps towards a more sustainable future. The Wohnwagon is just a flagship to start the discussion, there are so many things you can do, even if you only live in a small flat! You just have to know where to start.
All photographs are courtesy of Wohnwagon.