Ionel Schein

Cabine hôtelière mobile, 1956-1958

The Mobile Hotel Cabin (Cabine hôtelière mobile) was presented in the form of a prototype in plaster in November 1956 at the 3rd International Hotel Equipment Show in Paris. A design based on the concept of a “monocoque” cabin or pod, made of molded plastic and polyester fiberglass laminate, it is easily transported by truck and can be quickly installed on any type of terrain. Other cabins can be added as needed or desired, creating clusters of these “plug-in”, modular and adaptable pods. The modular features of this pod are specifically designed to meet the needs of the hotel industry because the number of installed pods can be adapted to rental demand. Schein’s intention was for the industrialized production of these plastic housing units to free humanity from being tied to a single fixed location. In this sense, the Cabines hôtelières mobiles were the very first example of autonomous housing units. Reyner Banham, the British art critic of Pop Art and Archigram, included this design in his 1961 article for Architectural Review entitled “Stocktaking.”

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