Things will never be the same as pre-2020, but it’s finally feeling like we’re starting to get back to some sort of resemblance of normalcy. That doesn’t apply to the collective feeling of wanderlust, which remains as pressing and irresistible as before.
The world has slowly but definitely shifted perspectives over the past few years, including in regard to our very notion of “home,” which now integrates the idea of an office and of leisure. Mobile homes of all kinds, of all shapes and sizes, abilities and budgets, are options that exist today, and of which many are making ample use.
You’d think that it’s somewhat difficult to still deliver a product that stands out when there are so many to choose from, but this is exactly what Los Angeles, CA-based company Texino did precisely one year ago. The Texino Atrium campervan was described as the most bonkers camper concept of 2022, an honorary title it still lives up to in the year 2023.
The good news is that there are plans to get the Texino Atrium production. The bad news is that it hasn’t started yet, but let’s not let that stop us from having a better look at it – this hi-tech fishbowl is ideal for off-grid stays, with or without the fam.
Since getting started in 2018, and especially through the 2020 international health crisis and the vanlife craze it fueled, Texino has become the go-to place for van conversions and custom builds. They specialize in Mercedes-Benz upfits for the outdoors, but they also did mobile testing vans and other niche builds.
The Atrium marked their first collaboration with designer Gabriel Wartofsky, on a pretty straightforward brief: to create a camper that offered awesome views and privacy, by means of a space that “feels more like an open-air loft than a tin can.” And boy, does the Atrium live up to the brief – and its name!
Inspired by the AirShip 002 prefab, the classical Airstream silhouette, and “submarine chic monochrome” styling, the Atrium shocked with its jarring, geometric and very striking frame. Wartofsky’s design ripped the rear end of the Mercedes Sprinter van off the chassis, and added a frame that brought a touch of neo-modernism to what was ultimately a very practical build.
The highlight of the camper is, of course, the atrium in the rear, which is nothing short of a fishbowl that offers panoramic views but also, by means of SmartGlass, as much privacy as occupants desire. There’s a two-couch lounge in the atrium, which converts into a dining area at mealtimes, and a master bedroom at night, when you can lower the table to create a two-person berth.
The Atrium is not all about looks either, or better said, it offers more than just amazing views. It was designed as a practical family vehicle, which means it’s been fitted with the creature comforts of a home, including a small galley, a small wet bathroom, and heaps of storage both underneath and overhead. An additional sleeping berth is located in the cabover area, so the Atrium could easily accommodate as many as four people at one time.
Unveiled as a concept, the Atrium was never meant to remain just that. The fact that Texano thought to go into the specifics of the off-grid capabilities was probably the first hint that it would go into production. These capabilities include 600 W of solar with 600 Ah of lithium batteries, off-grid HVAC, 200 gallons (757 liters) of freshwater, 50 gallons (189 liters) of grey, and 25 gallons (95 liters) of black water. More of these details would be unveiled as the project progressed, the company said at the time.
By the summer of 2022, the Atrium was already in construction, as Texino was quick to update followers on social media. Photos posted online showed a Sprinter with the steel frame that would ultimately become the sharp-angle silhouette of the Atrium, but the build never progressed further. If it did, Texino never said so. In fact, it seems that the company went off social media shortly after that and, if we’re to believe the kids these days, if you’re off social media, you pretty much cease to exist.
We reached out to Texino for a status update on the Atrium, and will edit this story when and if we hear back. At a first glance, either plans for this strange-looking but awesome conversion fell through, or demand remains so strong that Texino doesn’t have the time to update their social media anymore.
It would be a shame if the former were confirmed, though: the Atrium is a bonkers idea, but it’s also a very practical and very interesting one. It still has incredible potential to catch on with anyone from Instagram vanlifers to die-hard off-roaders with deep pockets, since the cheapest Texino vehicle is $89,990. Here’s to hoping that first Atrium unit is complete, and will be followed by more.