I have a secret affinity for good anti-design design—intentionally crude interiors, but in that intellectually curious, aesthetically pleasing, accidental sort of way. Kind of like El Cosmico, the year-and-a-half-old “lodging concept” (strangely vague-sounding hipster trailer park hotel, but better than “glamping”) by Liz Lambert, the Austin-based entrepreneur behind Hotel San Jose and Hotel Saint Cecilia. I’ve been trying to get there since last October, but it just hasn’t worked out. So even though this post has been written since August, I pulled it down before the site launched, thinking I’d be able to chronicle my own transcendental teepee-in-the-desert experience.
Renovated vintage trailers, eco-shacks (which are really up-cycled yurts), a gigantic Sioux teepee, and a bunch of minimalist white tents. It’s really just a big ongoing collaboration love fest between Lambert, Lake/Flato, Design Build Adventure, and a rotating cast of architecture students and local artists.
Situated on 18 acres of West Texas desert land, El Cosmico aims to be bigger than a place to sleep, drink and hang out. With a lineup of draw-sew-cook-pot-create programs, workshops, retreats and art shacks in the making, its other function is outdoor creative lab. For what it’s worth, they do also let you relax. Enter elm grove full of hammocks, a community lounge, outdoor kitchen and shared dining space, and bright orange wood-fired Dutch hot tubs! Painted on the side of the community kitchen, my favorite detail: Lucille Clifton’s poem, “Let there be new flowering.” El Cosmico, maybe I’ll see you next fall.