This dream is an old one, and it’s most beautifully brought to life in the De Markies, which translates into The Awning but is also referred to as The Accordion. De Markies is a design that dates back to 1985, or what young people today would call the Dark Ages, the early days of the Internet. It is the creation of Dutch architect and designer Eduard Böhtlingk and, to this day, it’s still getting plenty of attention, earning industry awards and, most importantly of all, getting showcased at events.
De Markies is not just a concept, since a few prototypes were built ahead of its entrance in the 1985 competition Temporary Living, which aimed to offer an answer to the question “How do you define living space in today’s mobile world?” Starting from the idea that awnings can create new or enlarge existing living spaces, Böhtlingk designed a camper that, with the help of awnings (sort of), expands to three times its towing size.
The midsection consists of a plywood and steel frame that houses the kitchen and bathroom. The furniture is collapsible to save space and to allow for all the creature comforts of an actual home. You get a dining table with seating for four, and a proper kitchen with oven and burner, sink, fridge, and cabinetry for storage. The bathroom has a toilet, sink and shower.
The sides open up in the manner of an accordion, with the walls serving as floor. One side is the sleeping area, so it’s covered by an opaque awning shield that offers privacy: you actually have two separate sleeping spaces here, making this the perfect family vehicle. The beds are singles, and collapsible as well.
The other side is the living room, covered by transparent and weatherproof plastic. This is the living room area, which can serve as a family slash entertainment room, or a lounge. Perhaps more impressive than the accordion approach to maximizing available space is the fact that both areas are “convertible.” Weather permitting, you can retract the awning and sleep under the stars, or turn the living into an open porch on which you take in the sun or the amazing views.
With this much attention and the boom in sales for campers and tiny houses, one can only hope someone will come along and offer to turn the De Markies into a mass-market product.