Out of Space

Let’s imagine we travel a few years into the future. And then we go for coffee and ask a very simple question: What is space?
Text Victoria Kennel
Photo Tom Salt

Just to be clear: We’re not even that far ahead of the present day. Just four years. So it’s 2025, and we’re here because that’s when the VW ID.Life is being launched. Two years earlier than originally planned, by the way. And because the concept of how we live, get around and go through life has changed radically in recent months, this may be a good time to consider where we actually are. What space means. And how this little car fits in at all.

If we step back a little from the subject of transportation and think about architecture, we quickly end up with the explanation that an architectural space is defined by vertical and horizontal elements. In other words, through the demarcation of boundaries. Transferring this view to the VW ID.Life, we’re talking about a crossover SUV measuring about 1.60 meters in height and 4.09 meters in length. Inside the mini-SUV, you can fold down the front and rear seats to create a reclining area that is over two meters long. There also is a cargo variant with maximum usable trunk space. But let’s stay with the reclining area. The living space. Fittingly, this living room on wheels also comes with a games console, a projector, and a projection screen that can be extended from the dashboard if required.

Just to be clear: We’re not even that far ahead of the present day. Just four years.

Of course, you can also connect other devices or link your smartphone into the car’s operating system. And since we’re on the subject of digitization, this seems like a good place to mention Florian Rötzer’s book Sein und Wohnen – Philosophische Streifzüge zur Geschichte und Bedeutung des Wohnens [Being and Living: Philosophical Ramblings on the History and Meaning of Living], where the journalist and author deals with the profound changes regarding privacy and our living space. He believes that the blurring of private and public space – think working from home – will give rise to “other forms of behavior that will again generate a different kind of privacy”.

Quite likely the car will play a role in this future. Continue to play a role, we should say. After all, cars have always offered us a mixture of refuge, flight and freedom. And when it comes to escaping with the ID.Life, here are a few facts worth knowing: The ID.Life has an electric motor driving the front wheels with 234 hp, a maximum torque of 290 Nm and a WLTP range of up to four hundred kilometers. It manages the sprint in 6.9 seconds and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 180 kilometers an hour.

The future will give rise to other forms of behavior that will again generate a different kind of privacy.

Cars have always offered us a mixture of refuge, flight and freedom.

Well, and then there’s the living space. And, appropriately, Jane Fonda’s famous quip that we treat the earth as if we had a second one in the trunk of our car. Of course, sustainability plays a central role with the ID.Life. You could spend a long time looking for decorative trim components and other add-on parts, the air chamber textile for the roof and front cover is made from one hundred percent recycled plastic bottles, and the clearcoat for the body uses wood chips as a natural coloring agent and bio-based hardener.

Right, so how was that now with space? Is it just there? Or is it created through human perception? A few answers can be found at the exhibition Out of Space now showing at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Here you can see how artists have defined and constructed space from the 1960s to the present day. The exhibition runs until November 28. In the year 2021, of course.

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