The team behind the LUME Traveler has been working for years on realising their dream: building and commercialising a self-designed caravan. Aim: to make camping trendy again. For this article, Innovation Origins spoke with founders Hein van de Laar and Edwin Bron; together they have developed a caravan in which no compromises are made in terms of design, luxury and comfort. By using high-quality materials such as aluminium, teakwood, leather and wool felt, the company is able to distinguish itself from the competition.
And it is exactly this competition that is the driving force behind the design of the caravan: “The caravan that everyone knows isn’t attractive at all”, says van de Laar plainly. The designer seized his chance to change that. “It all started with me, in fact. I had been thinking about it for a long time, and eventually, I started making some sketches. After years of close cooperation with technical designers, suppliers and producers, we came up with this product”, he says. Together with colleague Edwin Bron, van de Laar continued his dream of commercialising the LUME Traveler. Bron: “My expertise in this field came in handy. Building a brand and establishing an organisation; together we have managed it.”
With its all-aluminium bodywork and open roof, the caravan is unique. To offer the high level of quality, luxury and comfort, the designer – who enjoys spending his free time on the water – was inspired by the yacht-building industry. Van de Laar: “It is odd that we have never seen the quality that is used in yacht building in, for example, a caravan or motorhome.”
Not only quality but also comfort and interaction with nature played a significant role in the design process: “I think it is wonderful to be able to enjoy the same comfort as you are used to at home in nature”. This vision is reflected in the design; you live outside, and only sleep inside. By opening the tailgate, you get access to a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, inside you will only find a spacious, comfortable bed. The fully opening panoramic roof creates both light and space and allows you to sleep under the stars.
“During production of the caravan we also take nature into account as much as possible”, claims Bron. “For example, for each used tree one is replanted and the wool felt originates from South American rather than the conventional South African sheep. Here the sheep are treated better, and there are no active parasites. Everything has been thought through.” Van de Laar hooks up and continues: “Nature genuinely is very important to us and what is more beautiful than to immerse yourself in nature with a product that is also produced as responsibly as possible?”
“This caravan is not only suitable for the regular camping visitors; it’s a lifestyle,” says Bron. He continues: “The moment you are writing a business case, you are creating customer profiles. Who is your customer, what is his income and what are his or her hobbies? When we started, we had an apparent profile; the customers are young, two-earners and sporty. From the people that were interested at the fairs where we have been before, however, it has become clear that the caravan is suitable for everyone. It appeals to people who want something different than the white caravan. That is the power of the product.”