Journal: This Crazy Citroën Was Built For Lounging Tastefully

This Crazy Citroën Was Built For Lounging Tastefully

By Michael Banovsky
November 3, 2015

Photographs and illustrations via

Could a reconfigurable “mobile human space” really be the future of cars? It’s not a new idea, after all, this incredible, transforming green box was built for the 1972 MoMA exhibition, “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape”.

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

Envisioned as a part of a larger transportation network, Kar-A-Sutra may look like a camper van, but without a bathroom or kitchen, it’s not an RV; it’s more a temporary living space that can be reconfigured as needed. 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.

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.

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:

“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.”

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Patrick Peters
Patrick Peters
8 years ago

Citroën invented the fatboy… on wheels!

Edward Levin
Edward Levin
8 years ago

I remember it from 1972; I still have my copy of the “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” exhibition catalogue

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