Student-Designed Airstream Debuted at International Design Conference

August 14th, 2014 by Wordpress Administrator
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One of the product's target customers - the nomadic freelancer. Here, a photographer is on the road for a shoot.

One of the product’s target customers – the nomadic freelancer. Here, a photographer is on the road for a shoot.

CCAD’s student-designed, custom-built Airstream has taken its maiden voyage and landed in Texas to meet an international cadre of influential designers.

The CCAD Airstream spent the week being driven cross country to debut at the annual Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) conference in Austin, which this year has been extended to an international design audience.

“This conference has representatives from a host of design industries including Industrial, Interior, advertising/graphic design, architecture , etc., and is the place to be seen in the design industry,” explained Tom Gattis, CCAD’s dean of the school of design arts.

“Showing the student Airstream project at this show underscores CCAD influence in the design industry,” added Gattis. “When one of our students goes looking for a job or an internship, we have an established reputation in the industry. Presenting at IDSA will help us capture more work like the Airstream project. The audience is full of designers and executives from a host of companies that will want to get engaged.”

The CCAD Airstream project kicked off in January 2014. The challenge from the iconic brand was for CCAD students to design an Airstream that would appeal to millennials. What they came up with was a product targeted to people whose careers are mobile—an Airstream designed to be both office and home.

Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler, far right, is interviewed by CCAD students making a documentary of the project.

Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler, far right, is interviewed by CCAD students making a documentary of the project.

CCAD students representing all college majors personified four target consumers—the nomadic freelancer, the creative merchant, the remote researcher, and the brand promoter—to explore how the Airstream office/living space might be used. They built a full-scale model and then, using a shell provided by Airstream, built out a concept model to present to Airstream executives.

The final presentation in May also included a full marketing campaign for the new product. After the presentation, Airstream executives agreed to produce the CCAD design, and the final result is now headed for Austin.

Steering the Airstream’s first cross-country trip is a three-person crew: Dave Stockwell, Michael Arace, and Andy Hawk. While they each take their turn at the wheel, Arace (a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch) is posting about the journey on the CCAD on the Road Tumblr and Hawk, a musician, will be composing a song about the project—CCAD’s Airstream has its own troubadour.

Follow CCAD's Airstream on the road at

Follow CCAD’s Airstream on the road at

In addition to the truck pulling the Airstream, the crew has a chase car to help document the iconic silver bullet on the road.

Gattis, professors Joel Gundlach and Greg Thune, and Industrial Design senior Lauren Purkhiser will join the driving crew in Austin, where Gattis is excited to network with colleagues and talk about the college’s MindMarket program—and of course fill up on the inspiration that comes from being with design peers.

“Each time I go, I emerge energized from inspiring presentations and amazing high-quality design work on display,” Gattis said. “It really does charge one’s batteries and help to launch into the coming fall semester.”

Follow the Airstream on her maiden voyage at

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One Response to “Student-Designed Airstream Debuted at International Design Conference”

  1. Michelle says:

    Great job by everyone! I’m sure a lot of time and effort was put into this amazing project!