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Exbury Egg: The floating off-grid workspace and home


June 13, 2013

Exbury Egg is located on the shore of Beaulieu River (Photo: Nigel Rigden)

Exbury Egg is located on the shore of Beaulieu River (Photo: Nigel Rigden)

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Exbury Egg is a floating off-grid workspace and home, installed on the shore of the Beaulieu River, UK. It was conceived by artist Stephen Turner, and created with the help of both Perring Architecture and Design, and SPUD design studio. The egg-shaped structure will support Turner for a year as he carries out observations on the local environment and produces his works of art.

The shape of Exbury Egg was inspired by the nesting seabirds local to the Beaulieu River, and during the year in which it will be used as Turner's base, its exterior will weather and visually attest to its contact with the tides, wildlife, rain, and sun.

"I will seek to creatively map the inter-connection of life from the smallest invertebrates to the largest mammals and between fauna and changing flora during the course of four complete seasons," explains Turner. "During this time the Egg exterior will be scoured, scraped and bleached by sea, wind and sun, creating a natural patination which is in itself a calendar of the turning year."

As Exbury Egg is required to float, its construction was logically entrusted to local boat-builder Paul Baker, who used reclaimed cedar, and locally-sourced Douglas Fir to produce a buoyant, waterproof structure measuring roughly 6 x 2.8 m (20 x 10 ft). It will remain tethered in place by ropes.

Though not exactly bursting with home comforts, the snug space does provide the basic necessities. The interior contains a desk, hammock, and kitchen, which itself sports a paraffin stove and sink. However, there's no running water, so Turner makes use of a nearby hosepipe back on land. Access to the egg is afforded via a small pontoon bridge.

There's no electricity on-board, so the artist will rely on solar chargers to keep his cell-phone, digital camera, and laptop juiced-up.

Exbury Egg also has two cupboards shoe-horned into its small space. These act as wet and dry lockers for the artist's clothing and belongings. The wet lock drains into the Eggs bilges, which will be periodically pumped-out.

In between the cupboards is a wet room, which contains a basic solar shower, and the same type of portable toilet as commonly found on a boat or motorhome. Finally, a small charcoal burning stove will provide Turner with heating.

In addition to serving as Turner's workspace and occasional home, Exbury Egg will also be used as an educational tool, and local students have been invited to observe the design, building, and installation of the egg. It was put into place in late May and will remain for one year.

Source: Exbury Egg via Design Boom

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Really can't understand why anyone would want to be in that egg float. Can't see out but one window since it doesn't have others except to see the sky through the round window. Put it on a trailer, add windows, and a kitchen and you'd have an interesting camper. As for sitting on the water and having such a truncated view, I don't see the point in it at all. If you are going to be out on the water then surely you should be able to have a 360 degree view.


SPUD Design Studio? I thought it looked more like a potato than an egg! If he already has power panels and water for a solar shower, why not add a water purifier and a bilge pump as well? I hope he has good ventilation or a chimney for that heating stove - virtually all charcoal burners have warnings DO NOT USE IN ENCLOSED SPACES! Tents, caravans, small holiday cabins, floating potatoes ... all quality as enclosed spaces.

The Skud

Beautiful! It would be a great weekend, get-away-from-it, peace and quiet place. That being said, put that beautifully laid out wood interior into any survival life boat would be a (more?) practical combination.


Without doubt the WORST naval architecture I have ever seen.


Eggy, nutty, or just plain goofy, it is Fun!

It's not about to make Captain Nemo jealous but put a 100 horse outboard on it with a few more windows and enjoy the country side with a heavy keel.

Actually this is way too labor intensive for housing of any sort but as delightful ideas and brainstorms go it's not bad.


Lewis Dickens

Unless the ventilation is sufficient, you can die breathing charcoal fumes while asleep. I'd suggest some other source. Living in Mexico, unfamiliar with charcoal I dragged a burner into our airtight bedroom one night, and awoke coughing, barely able to breathe, and finally awakened my wife who seemed half dead, and didn't try that again.

Richard Abbott

I get it as a work of art. BUT design should also include function. I think the writer was carried away with the look and didn't want to bother us with the details.

It looks as if there is a head? There is some sort of privacy door in one corner of the cabin and what appears to be a hose, and a shower basin? As for the galley; the ventilation for a propane stove would be equivalent to what you get on a small boat since it is right next to the hatch. This all assumes it doesn't get too cold.

Clearly this isn't a solution for anyone who is at all practical. But if you have money to burn why not waste it on a nest egg that sooner or later will burn, sink, or simply float away.


I wonder how much he had to shell out for this? I wonder who egged him on to make it? If it is from a design company called SPUD, why is it egg shaped instead of a potatoe shape? If it did not work, he would have egg on his face? If it is a joke, the yolks on us?


This thing would be an awesome Studio Apartment for my wife and I in Hawaii.

Mike Brannon
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