Citroën Kar-A-Sutra

via bellini.it

via bellini.it

This one's going to be more photos than text because, well, it was designed more as an object than as a car.

Based on your feedback, the popularity of the Isuzu Zen Car of the Day story really surprised me; but I suppose it's not every day you get to see a vehicle with a hideaway interior.

Vehicles that emphasize their interior above all else are few and far between, and it took a collaboration between an architect, furniture company, Pirelli, and Citroën to produce the Kar-A-Sutra.

Envisioned as a part of a larger transportation network, Kar-A-Sutra was unveiled for a 1972 MoMA exhibition titled Italy: The New Domestic Landscape. Without a bathroom or kitchen, it's not an RV; it's more a temporary living space that can be reconfigured as needed.

Actually, I liked the look of the press release so much it's pasted below…

via MoMA

That tells you a lot about who designed it and the general themes for why things look the way they do—sadly, I couldn't find explanation anywhere for the mimes—but the Kar-A-Sutra is more than just a massive 20 foot long art piece.

Because when you consider its year, 1972, the concept predates every MPV, from the Mitsubishi Chariot/Space Wagon to the Renault Espace, long considered the first modern MPV.

Is the Kar-A-Sutra what inspired car designers to invent the MPV? I'd sure love to think so, since it was also based on the Citroën DS, a revolutionary vehicle in its stock form to say nothing of the mobile living room you see here.

via bellini.it; click to expand

Designed with a movable roof to increase living space, the Kar-A-Sutra could grow from a driving height of 4 feet up to a stationary height of 7 feet. Once raised, the interior fittings—er, cushions—could be moved around as needed.

Could the Kar-A-Sutra drive under its own power? I'm not sure, but I'm OK if it doesn't—it stands as a great example of architect Bellini's work, alongside his ultramodern building designs.

Actually, his website describes the Kar-A-Sutra as follows, a fitting way to end today's article…

To stretch out, sleep, smile, chat face-to-face, stand up, enjoy the sun, take photos, play cards, eat and drink, make love, buy a horse and a piano along the way... Forerunning the future, the car becomes a MOBILE HUMAN SPACE.
— bellini.it

Sources / Recommended reading