During Modernism Week 2018, an Alpod landed in downtown Palm Springs. When it opened its glass doors, more than 8,000 people succumbed to curiosity on a self-guided tour.
Clad in aluminum paneling over a steel frame designed to withstand whipping winds and even earthquakes, the small, rectangular structure may have been an alien sight in the desert — and in the U.S. market, for that matter.
But this was no unidentified modern object. The Alpod has been around for several years in Asia, where its adaptability has not gone unnoticed. One, for example, serves as a clerk-less convenient store in Hong Kong. Shoppers swipe a credit card to enter and are charged before they leave. In Macau, a street lined with individual Alpod restaurants offers a futuristic food court that can relocate at any time.
In their residential form, these compact modular homes touch down on your lot in one of three sizes, the largest spanning 400 square feet. Got bigger plans? They can be lengthened, widened, or stacked in multiple levels by adding modules. Your Alpod arrives ready to party, complete with appliances, air conditioning and heating, and a front panel comprised of glass accordion doors. Just add furniture and cocktail fixings. The windows can even be frosted via remote control for after-party privacy.
With no intention of blasting off anytime soon, the Modernism Week Alpod is decked in furnishings from Scandinavian Designs and sits behind the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs hotel. A second Alpod (shown here) lounges across part of the Dosooz showroom in Palm Desert. Four skylights hover above the main living area; a pool in front cinches its vacation vibe.
“Since Modernism Week, it has gotten crazy,” says Heric Silva, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Dosooz. “We get calls every day from people who want to buy them, build villages, use them in the High Desert, and discuss their versatility.” Here, Silva takes it from the top in an introduction to all things Alpod.
The Alpod inside Palm Desert’s Dosooz showroom opens to reveal a kitchen and bathroom at one end, a bedroom at the other, and living and dining areas in between.
What is the Alpod, generally speaking?
The Alpod is a new twist on the modular, factory-build home. It is built 100 percent inside a factory, delivered to the site, and attached to traditional utilities. It also has the option to go off-grid. Its heavy-gauge steel rib structure is clad in thick honeycombed anodized aluminum panels.
What is Alpod Palm Springs?
The Alpod in Palm Springs was set there to give everyone a chance to see it in person and experience what it would be like to have one for yourself. The one in our Dosooz showroom has an outdoor environment to help you imagine the possibilities. The Alpod is our answer to “this-century modern.”
How long will it be there?
The Alpod has no expiration date; its uses will evolve. Currently, the Alpod is a pop-up showroom for the Scandinavian Designs furniture store in Rancho Mirage. Inside are furniture and accessories for a one-bedroom home. It has a full-size bathroom with shower, a small kitchen with induction heat, a living room, and a bedroom with a queen-size bed.
What’s the real grab of these podular units?
Everyone has seen container homes or tiny homes, but our design sets us apart. It’s a complete unit, not one put together on-site. There are no visible screws or bolts in its construction; everything is hermetically sealed for integrity so it is impervious to weather and water. The design is very much modern. We added smooth, rounded corners, 40 feet of glass from floor to ceiling and end to end, and a light panel that lights up. The interior is made of anodized aluminum so there are no issues that drywall goes through in terms of durability. It’s kind of like a car. You could hose the place down and you wouldn’t really damage anything.
Alpods seem like a natural fit for the area.
Yes, the reaction has been amazing. People see them as small homes, guest homes in their backyard, vacation cabins, vacation rentals, retail stores, and more.
Does it really descend from the sky?
Actually, yes. The Alpod is delivered to your site completely built. It arrives on a flatbed truck then moves up and over to your site by crane. It takes about 25 minutes to set it on a level concrete pad, plus an hour or so to hook up city utilities, which plug in the back so you don’t need to go underneath. Then you can enjoy right away.
Where will the next one land?
There are a few plans in the works, one for an Alpod hotel. Also a rental village and pop-up stores. The hotel is still in the design phase. It will be a mix of pods and traditional hotel rooms — an extension of an existing popular hotel I can’t mention yet.
Who needs an Alpod?
Millennials are very interested in the Alpod because they can be moved and are easy to maintain. Anyone who has a nice piece of land with a view, we just drop off an Alpod and now you have a vacation spot.
I definitely want one.
You can come by our showroom in Palm Desert and place an order. There are a few options available including size, color, flooring, countertops, bathroom tile, vanity configuration, window location, and optional kitchen and/or bathroom. From the day you order it to delivery, we are looking at about three months until you can move in.