30 June 2011

The Playboy Land Yacht

Commissioned by Playboy Magazine and designed by futurist concept artist Syd Mead. Mead is most famously known for his studio work on the science-fiction films Blade RunnerAliens, and Tron; but his creative work has spanned the realms of architecture, vehicle design, and interiors.
The Land Yacht the ultimate go-anywhere, do-anyone ride in an alternate Blade Runner-meets-Ladies Man future. Despite the 70's look, its predictions of modern driving technology are surprisingly accurate.
Mead's Land Yacht debuted in the June 1975 issue of Playboy, serving as both a roving bachelor pad and a vision of future travel. It's designed with a central computer system which manages vehicle systems as well as the duties of over the road driving, leaving you to lounge in the luxurious cabin and leather recliners.
When you aren't underway there's a rooftop bed for a little open air entertaining, but that's not the limit of accommodation. There are also multiple big screen TV's for entertainment and several recording cameras scattered around to make the viewing content. Technology extends to other goodies, too, as phones are wired through the cabin.

Click for full-size image

Click for full-size image
From the article:
"The brain box of the vehicle, located on the right side, incorporates radar activated sensors for remote controlled cruising, trip lapses with recorded tips on throughway exits, and two zoom-lensed TV cameras to monitor the road far and off.For night driving, the yacht’s front lighting consists of two swing-down iodine quartz lamps, plus four normal high/low/intermediate lights, which are folded back when off, swinging out against adjustable stops (for proper aiming) when the sliding cover door is activated. In addition, a front-scanning infrared lamp produces a wide-angle fan of radiation, for pickup on the yacht’s console-mounted TV screen. What you see in the monitor is an infrared-filter view of the roadway. This system is an outgrowth of the exotic Air Force fighter-pilot technology, which produces an animated, terrain-characteristic “picture” in front of the pilot, regardless of the weather or visibility conditions."

"When our land yacht is parked, its brain box (front center) can be closed and pivoted to double as a cocktail table. The bath is shown with its door cut away; to its left are the food-prep unit and audio-video center. At rear, you see the open-air skylight with its electronic sun deck partially lowered."

This is the rear lounge — and that bed, gentlemen, measures seven feet by six feet. In the center, below the TV and the movie projector (a screen rolls down over the rear window, foreground), is the bar capsule; it’s lined with crushed velvet, like the phone container to its right.

"The nocturnal view -- through the rear window -- shows the expandable bathroom wall. Atop is the sun deck; when traveling, a bubble of air arches over the space so that the deck can be open. Obviously, the couple pictured here couldn't care less about all of this."

When the Land Yacht is rocking,- you get the idea.

The driver controls the vehicle from a central driving position with a joystick, while infrared cameras pierce the night and project an image in front of the driver. Considering how many of these conveniences exist in modern motor homes - and our modern voyeuristic tendencies - Mead deserves credit as a successful futurist.
Click on the images to read the original article and more of Syd Mead's work here.

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