Will Martel 2 Beaut Ute

  • Tauira / Student
    Will Martel
  • Kaiako / Lecturer
    Matt Liggins
  • School
    University of Auckland

Whilst living abroad in my two bedroom flat in 2020 I dreamt of travelling New Zealand's open landscapes unhindered. As luck would have it, within a few weeks I had to return home due to the outbreak of Covid-19. I spent several months working for my father, who is a metal fabricator, and the dream of searching out New Zealand’s landscapes was magnified.

Before I could fully realise the dream of the camper, I had to find a ute. The one that was used was my parents old work ute, they had owned it from almost new, some 400,000 km’s ago. It needed extensive repairs done including a full paint job. It took four months to sand, prime, and paint the ute, but once it was finished work on the camper could begin.

Drawings made almost a year ago were revisited as the camper came to life. The design was simple, drawers on the bottom with a sleeping compartment on the top. The inner formilist demanded a pure geometry which meant certain sacrifices were made with aerodynamics and fuel consumption.

The ute, being older than I am, needed the camper to be as lightweight as possible. The frame is constructed of aluminium with polycarbonate inserts. The camper weighs in at 105kg and can be loaded and unloaded with a few, strong, friends.

The sleeping compartment features three hinging panels which swing upwards to form awnings. These panels can be propped open with bamboo poles. Although transparent, there are curtains which can be pinned in for privacy.

This project would not have been possible without the help of my father, Bill Martel of Metalmorphic, and Glenn of Plimmerton Panel and Paint. Photographs by Hamish Johns and Sam Hartnett.