How the Statue of Liberty’s Century of aging gracefully inspired Living Vehicle’s designer about the honesty of materiality.
Q: What do the Statue of Liberty and Living Vehicle have in common?
A: They both represent freedom and getting better with age.
Like the Statue of Liberty, Living Vehicle places a high priority on longevity and authenticity.
When France gifted the copper skinned statue to the US in 1875, the copper coated surface was not the beautiful green we see today. Lady Liberty started out as shiny as a new copper penny, but like an older penny it transformed to a dull brown. Over time, something magically beautiful happened, it began to take on an elegant blue-green – as the French say, verdigris. The rich and lustrous raw aluminum silver skin of Living Vehicle undergoes a similar living transformation.
Moisture in the atmosphere, mixed with copper oxides on the statue, turned the copper surface to its distinctive green. Then, chloride from sea spray made the statue even greener. At first there was an outcry from public officials to make it new again. There was a public outcry rejecting this notion, to embrace the true nature of the statue’s materials and to view these changes as getting better with age.
Lady Liberty stood for the next century and more – aging in the most natural and honest way, responding to nature for the wonderful qualities of her design. A true natural and timeless beauty.
The Honesty of Materials
We at Living Vehicle believe that the most successful material is one that ages gracefully over time and requires little to no maintenance. This is not coincidental, but a deliberate embrace of a material for what it is, at the core. A material chosen for the honest integrity of what it does best invigorates the design to become more beautiful as time passes. This is one of the fundamental properties of what we consider timeless design.
Living Vehicle has chosen to embrace the natural integrity, beauty, and durability of materials. We believe in respecting the honesty of materials by focusing on their unique properties and using them according to how they respond over time to their environment.
One look at a 1980s vehicle’s paint tells the whole story. Millions of vehicles have been made from steel and plastics, along with other synthetic compounds. They’re covered with some type of paint or veneer to mask the natural property of the material. We believe this is a terrible mistake. When that paper-thin coating of paint or plastic comes off, and it always does, that “shiny new look” is forever gone, only to be cast off and regulated to the scrap heap. Just look in the junkyards of today – full of vehicles, improperly designed to stand the test of time, effectively worthless.
The True Nature of Aluminum
Aluminum is one of the core building products of every Living Vehicle. Aluminum, as the third most common element on Earth, always combines with other elements to form new compounds so it’s hardly ever found in nature alone.
Every Living Vehicle chassis, frame, and even cabinetry is constructed from nothing but Aluminum. The exterior skin is the most prominent feature and comes in a beautiful mill finish with a subtle shine. From the day it leaves the factory, the aluminum will begin its transformation. The raw, unfinished aluminum is a living canvas and Mother Nature the master painter – the paint and paintbrush are the rain, wind, heat, cold, snow and air – each a beautiful color in Mother Nature’s artist palette. Each Living Vehicle owner’s unique travels and lifestyle are literally represented in the natural patina of how the exterior skin ages.
Aluminum: Light, Sustainable, Healthy
Unlike steel, the outermost surface of aluminum reacts with air and water to form a passive and protective layer called aluminum oxide over the entire exposed surface. This layer is only 4 nanometers thick and resembles a matte gray finish. This is the true beauty of Aluminum. Its chemical composition protects itself in harmony with, not against, Mother Nature.
Some owners prefer to clearcoat the exterior skin of the Living Vehicle to preserve the flawless aluminum finish. Think of this as nothing more than protective packaging. While this will last for a decade or more, even the most sophisticated synthetic clearcoat will degrade over time and flake off. The real beauty is in what lies underneath the protective coat-- it is the natural and raw material, just waiting to begin its artistic transformation.
Embrace the minor wrinkles, dings, scratches, and dents because these are the reminders of a life well-lived. Use your Living Vehicle to the fullest, travel, and explore. Every breeze, raindrop, brush of a tree branch, or rock pit from travelling through the Yukon. Let the journey and memories become the paint on your canvas. These will transform your home-on-wheels into a living representation of who you are, and your life’s journey. After all, every Living Vehicle is a timeless art-piece with Mother Nature being the painter.
What you choose to paint is up to you.