Announcing the world’s most expensive anything is a surefire way to attract attention, but when the thing is a $3m motor home, questions arise beyond the obvious “Why?” After all, designers create all manner of prototypes, and mythical potentates from Dubai are always rumoured to be buying them. Yet in this case, the factory is up and running and ready to take your deposit money.
The recreational vehicle, or RV, is the eleMMent Palazzo – the capitalisation an allusion to its maker, the Austria-based Marchi Mobile, founded by former trucking magnate Mario Marchi.
This mobile mansion will be built on the chassis of a DAF XF105, a rectilinear semi-truck that is ubiquitous on European highways, with a Volvo engine for easy servicing. That trucking technology is essential, as there will be a hefty payload of marble, rose gold and hubris to haul around once Marchi Mobile locates a buyer for its Leviathan.
The Palazzo’s sweeping lines, a heroic attempt at making a brick appear aerodynamic, were originally penned by Luigi Colani, the irascible eighty-something father of so-called biodynamic industrial design, whose organically bulbous aesthetic has been channelled into vehicles for Fiat, Alfa Romeo and BMW. Colani’s trademarks are still in evidence, but the expanse behind the cab is given over to the client’s every indulgence and whim.
Functionally, the Palazzo has a slide-out room not unlike those found on nicer trucking rigs, but it also offers a “Sky Lounge”, replete with banquette seating that rises out of the body to create a rooftop nightclub, complete with mood-lit canopy, audio system and wet bar. It is essentially a sky bridge, the likes of which might be spotted bobbing off Cannes or in the harbour at the Monaco Grand Prix, making the Palazzo – indisputably and unironically – a land yacht.
Marchi Mobile has produced several custom vehicles atop this platform, including a rolling health clinic and self-contained mobile showrooms. The company expects the bulk of its future commissions to come in its Viva line, a “jet on wheels” concept that brings Gulfstream-calibre finishes down to terra firma.
The world tour of these products will make North American landfall in early 2015. Marchi meanwhile awaits a commission to make the Palazzo a reality, but the company notes it is marketing heavily in Dubai.