Home » This Artsy Hand-Built Japanese Trailer Is Both A Camper And An Extra Room For Your House

This Artsy Hand-Built Japanese Trailer Is Both A Camper And An Extra Room For Your House

Kworks Mio Space Trailer Ts
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I’ve said it many times before, but American camper design is often too drab and too boring. Most of the time, you get to choose between one cube and another and if you’re lucky, the swoops might be different. Other countries seem to have so much fun. One example is a new collaboration between Japanese RV manufacturer Kworks and housing building material conglomerate Lixil. Together, the two companies made the Kworks Mio Space Trailer, a camper that’s also an extra bedroom of your home and it’s pretty awesome.

To me, one of the biggest faults with campers today is that many floorplans make you feel like you’re cocooned in your camping unit. Small windows, big furniture, and clutter can make a 30-footer feel much smaller. So, I love to see designs that make a camper feel more like open rooms of a home or better, open up to let the outside in. The Kworks Mio Space Trailer seems to have understood the assignment and I think it lives up to the promise of being both an extra bedroom and a camper at the same time.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Kworks and Lixil?

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Right, so neither of the companies involved in this build are known brands in America. While I could not find a founding date for Kworks, the company appears to be a newer face in the Japanese camping space. The company’s Representative Director Isao Kuroda, says he spent his younger years motorcycle racing. Kuroda says he participated in the Suzuka Endurance Road Race many times and while he became proficient at racing, those skills didn’t really translate to a daily job outside of racing.

So, when physical strain and injuries took him out of the motorcycle racing saddle, Kuroda became a car salesman. But, in a case of poor timing, this all happened at the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy, which left Kuroda feeling burned out, from Kworks’ website:

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When I think about it, I spent 10 years doing what I wanted as much as I wanted, but in the end, it was just my own joys, angers, and sorrows, and I needed the support of so many people to continue racing. I didn’t really realize that I was being put to good use.

During all of this, Kuroda discovered campers and realized that transport vehicles had far more potential than just carrying cars. Kuroda soon wanted to get people off of motorcycles and into campers. After obsessing over campers for some time, Kuroda decided to start his own company and build his own campers by hand. Kuroda says he and his team have been working hard not just to create handcrafted campers, but to also make sure they’re quality spaces designed to last longer than 10 years.

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Kworks campers are also built to be safe. When the Kworks team saw a poor gap in their design, they sealed it up. When they saw that sharp edge on a piece of furniture could injure a child, they rounded it out. Today, Kworks builds campers by hand out of vans of various sizes and also offers Trail Works towables. Like other Japanese camper brands, Kworks builds units that aren’t just places to have fun but also places you can escape in during a time of natural disaster.

The other company involved is Lixil, a conglomerate of water and housing products manufacturers with a goal of making better homes for everyone. The company was formed in 2011 when building materials supplier Tostem Corp., bathroom supplier INAX, kitchen supplier Sunwave, fence manufacturer Toyo Exterior, and skyscraper material supplier Shin Nikkei merged together. Of the two companies, Lixil is the one with global reach. In 2011, Lixil purchased Italian building envelope constructor Permasteelisa. In 2013, Lixil purchased American Standard Brands, makers of toilets and faucets you’ve almost certainly used before.

The Mio Space Trailer

231024 Movingroom Mio Space 01

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According to Lixil, its companies have built housing products for years. Most of them were made to enrich the experience of being at home. However, Lixil has taken note that, today, more people are trying to connect their homes to the outdoors. Others are hitting the road and are taking their homes with them on camping trips. In recent years, Lixil’s brands have been creating products that could be used indoors and outdoors. Lixil says there’s a demand for a mobile space that could be used every day of the year.

To realize this goal, Lixil partnered up with Kworks to create a mobile living space that could be an exterior extension of your home and also a camping trailer when you’re on the move. Lixil says the partnership is based on a licensing agreement where Lixil provides the design concept while Kworks builds and sells the resulting trailer. So, what you’re looking at here is a trailer designed by housing materials providers and built by hand by a camper producer.

Lixil Landy

 

The two companies say that the Kworks Mio Space Trailer combines mobility with variability and design. I’ll just drop the blurb in there:

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Utilizing KWORKS’s camping trailer production technology, it is lightweight and compact, taking into consideration Japan’s road and residential site conditions. The design provides “mobility” that allows you to carry it wherever you want to spend your time. Taking advantage of LIXIL’s knowledge as a housing equipment manufacturer, we have created a “variable” interior that can be changed freely depending on the scene, while keeping the necessary minimum equipment, and a sense of openness inspired by its use in homes. By adding a certain opening and a “design” that harmonizes with the home, we have created a product with value different from conventional camping trailers. You can enjoy a life that suits a variety of lifestyles, such as using it as part of your home in your daily life and using it as a hobby space during outdoor activities.

Kworks and Lixil don’t go deep into what we’re looking at here. The trailer, like many Japanese campers, uses a lot of wood inside and out. At least to my eye, it doesn’t seem overdone and the wood probably makes the trailer seem pretty cozy. Up at the front of the trailer is a small galley kitchen featuring what looks like an induction stove.

Lixilint

My favorite part about the unit is the fact that the back wall lowers and turns into a deck. I could totally see someone parking this in their backyard and enjoying a summer day kicking back in and around the Kworks Mio Space trailer.

At the same time, this is the kind of camper that would turn heads at a campground. It’s minimalist, but also pretty loud.

231024 Movingroom Mio Space 02

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Sadly, neither company has determined the specs for the trailer yet. We don’t know anything about tanks, weight, or the kind of bedding the trailers will have. Lixil just says it’ll have a flexible interior. You’d think, then, that this is just a pointless concept trailer. However, Lixil and Kworks plan to put the trailer into production in 2024. Neither company has announced pricing, but say that for now, deliveries will be limited to Japan.

That’s a shame because so long as this camper has a low enough price and decent amenities, I could see people picking these up in America. I know I’d love to spend a weekend in one.

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Highland Green Miata
Highland Green Miata
7 months ago

The slat wall/ceiling concept is genius. Endless flexibility and configuration possibilities. Shelves, counters, jumpseats, hammocks, cupboards, hooks, baskets, etc. I hate trailers but I could get behind this idea.

Juan Butera
Juan Butera
7 months ago

Almost all the interesting camping trailers Mercedes features have to little ground clearance for unpaved U.S. Forest Service Roads. These are not “Jeep trails” but are maintained gravel roads with the occasional problem from erosion or uneven terrain.

Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
7 months ago

Looking at the photos it appears to me that the walls must have an “R” factor of about R4. Probably useful for a nice mild climate with a camping season of 4 or 5 months. Anything more severe and you’ll be freezing your (insert DT acceptable term here) off. Visually at least it looks flimsy as “heck”.

On a side note, where in the “heck” do you find the time to do so many camper reviews as well as motorcycles, small ridiculous cars, airplane gatherings and so on. Whatever you’re taking, send me some!

LuzifersLicht
LuzifersLicht
7 months ago

The design provides “mobility”

A teacher once told me not to use quotation marks like that. Either you mean what you’re writing or don’t write it at all, but “quoting” every other “word” makes it sound like you’re “talking out of your ass”.
I wish more marketing people had gone to my school, so they’d have learned the same lesson. And maybe because I’d have enjoyed bullying them.

Last edited 7 months ago by LuzifersLicht
Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
7 months ago
Reply to  LuzifersLicht

Sorry for my excessive use of “heck”.

Juan Butera
Juan Butera
7 months ago
Reply to  LuzifersLicht

“Jeep trail” is to directly quote USFS language. It defines a specific type of named road that is single track, not maintained but open to cars and trucks, not just motorcycles or ATV’s.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
7 months ago
Reply to  Juan Butera

I’ve always understood single track to mean roads, paths, or trails only suitable for motorcycles or bicycles, not for 4 wheeled vehicles – those require double tracks.

Juan Butera
Juan Butera
7 months ago

Plenty of confusion. Term is used both ways and you usage is more common.

Jeremy Aber
Jeremy Aber
7 months ago

That’s gorgeous, but all I can think about with the name is Mio Energy water flavoring 😀

Ben
Ben
7 months ago

If it really sits that low then I’m dubious these are actually intended to be mobile. My trailer sits too low and it’s about twice as high as this. I doubt this could make it out of my driveway thanks the our stupid rolled curbs.

It’ll look very pretty sitting in the side yard though. 🙂

William Domer
William Domer
7 months ago

Sorry Mercedes, that camper is just too cool for us. You will forever be relegated to a structurally unsound wannabe tin mobile home, or some thing that will off gas the plastic it is made from for a decade. Alternately we can get a small Airstream for $60,000 or so and live the mid-century lifestyle we all deserve. Damn I forgot to stash that extra 60K in my camper savings envelope.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
7 months ago

All those pictures have me curious. Are there no bugs or dust in trailerland?

Cal67
Cal67
7 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Definitely no black flies.

William Domer
William Domer
7 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I am so glad you brought that up. I have been watching Grand Designs (England, New Zealand and Australia and they keep building houses with glass wall that open up to the outside. Have they no mosquitos? Dang, build that in Wisconsin and your family would be eaten alive by lunchtime. Also how the F do they wash those windows anyways?

El Barto
El Barto
7 months ago
Reply to  William Domer

Yeah, so of course we have mossies in NZ and I’m sure there were mossies in the UK when I was living there for a while, so you can bet they’re in ‘Straya, but that’s what mosquito coils and other keep-bugs-out products are for.
Come to think of it, having been back in NZ for five years now, I’ve rarely had to worry about mossies in surburbia, especially as I live close to a beach. It might be coz everything is built up now or for some other reason, coz we don’t worry about keeping doors or windows closed.

Derek van Veen
Derek van Veen
7 months ago

I like the shape / design. Would be interesting to see this available in the US.

Chris D
Chris D
7 months ago
Reply to  Derek van Veen

It does look very nice, but the shape resembles a toaster – and is colored tan and brown, to coordinate with the warm bread.
It seems to take into account the limitations of its size and not try to do everything by shrinking it all down and cramming it in. Certainly a worthy effort.

Derek van Veen
Derek van Veen
7 months ago
Reply to  Chris D

Now I want toast.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
7 months ago

That “induction” cooker looks more like a turntable to me. The speaker off to the left supports that idea. Great idea to have a flexible top though.

Clark B
Clark B
7 months ago

The wood plank walls and ceiling look cool…but who is gonna dust them? You, that’s who. Forever.

Ben
Ben
7 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

The dust just adds to the ambience. 😉

I’ve tried to dust my trailer once or twice and it’s a futile effort every time. The next time I drive it somewhere, especially if there’s a gravel road involved, the dust is back.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
7 months ago

“Other countries seem to have so much fun”

This occurred to me watching a recent video from a favorite British car YouTube channel where he and his wife visited an RV expo – the crazy variety of options under 750kg, the different styles and innovative features, and also the pricing – even doing the currency conversion, they seem to be way more affordable than here. Kind of made me jealous, and also wonder why the affordable lightweight camper market is so stagnant over here

Pedro
Pedro
7 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Look at the comments and see why the US is a place where design goes to die.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
7 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

You can also walk through a Toll Bros. model home to confirm that. Why does a 3,000sq ft house need 6 different window sizes and shapes on the front? The freaking White House has 2!

Tinctorium
Tinctorium
7 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

This country has been waterboarded with the consumerist Kool-Aid for so long that we’ve forgotten beauty, subtlety, and nuance.

James Mason
James Mason
7 months ago

Looks like a livestock trailer to me.

Pedro
Pedro
7 months ago
Reply to  James Mason

We are livestock – or as economists say: Human Capitol Stock. Embrace it – I’m off to the feedlot!

Tinctorium
Tinctorium
7 months ago
Reply to  James Mason

A significant improvement over this ugly POS:
https://www.transwest.com/rv/

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
7 months ago

It looks kind of like a catch and release bear trap…for mother in laws.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
7 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Needs more accent pillows.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
7 months ago

Scented like cheap potpourri.

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
7 months ago

The design of this gives me an idea for something that would be much cooler.. The rounded off edges? basically, flip it on its roof.. the front and rear at the top would be rounded, and the bottom of the sides would be rounded (I would assume this might also help aero slightly?). Then, install roller blind-type panels (think cupholder/center console covers on older Mercedes models) on at least one side and ~half the roof, extending all the way down the rear (or maybe halfway down, still giving you the fold down deck and a place for the lights/plates etc). you could completely open the entire back and most of the roof, and have a full length open side. Perfect for nice days/great views/ keeping cooking smells out etc etc.

Anywho.

Last edited 7 months ago by Glutton for Piëch
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