Living in a van down by the river isn’t what it used to be. From outside, this Volkswagen T6 painted matte black doesn’t look like much, and upon opening the sliding door, you might expect to find the typical jumble of bedding and suitcases. But the interior of this particular T6 is anything but ordinary, painstakingly renovated and customized to create a surprisingly elegant mobile home. Appearing inconspicuous was part of the point for designer Nils Holger Moormann, who aims to strip out all unnecessary extras for a result that’s refreshingly simple, beautiful and functional. It’s literally a designer’s dream, especially considering that Moormann himself prefers sleeping in campers over hotel rooms when traveling.
Collaborating with German company Custom Bus, which produces bespoke vans for all sorts of purposes, Moorman applied his signature aesthetics to an interior that packs in just about everything a traveler might need on the road. Known for his high-end minimalist furniture and interiors, the Bavarian-based designer carefully chooses materials and color palettes that evoke the feeling of being in a luxury suite complete with a mini-kitchen, ambient lighting and a place to store your bicycle.
Integrated LED lighting illuminates the kitchen counter, niches for books and the curving oak-paneled ceiling. A sofa bed upholstered in merino wool offers sleeping space for two, and folds out of the way during the day. A bench seat along one wall hides storage, including a cubby for a folding bike, and there’s dedicated space for items like shoes. The same matte black seen on the van’s interior continues inside. Moorman’s use of wood, wool, stainless steel and luxury textiles is a strategic choice to separate his design from the “exuberant luxury” and “fake materials” of most camping buses available on the market.
“No matter how small the caravan, Nils Holger Moormann’s sense of freedom knows no restrictions,” reads his website’s description of the project. “A self-confesed lover of minimalist design and authentic materials, there hasn’t been a suitable option on the market to date with regards to style. So it was only logical to follow his own path and create Moormann’s new standard class. The spatial distribution in a VW bus has matured over a number of years and leaves very little room for improvement. In reality it’s the carefully chosen materials and an exact eye for detail that shape the new overall appearance of the Moormann mobile. Nils Holger Moormann and his team have done what they do best: omitted everything that could possibly be omitted.”
The van is available for purchase through the Custom Bus website, with pricing available upon request. The design calls to mind that of filmmaker Zach Both’s custom cargo van, which he renovated into a mobile office with a minimalist modern flair. That particular design can be replicated at home thanks to a set of freely available instructions Both calls ‘The Vanual.’