If the thought of communing with nature evokes images of rain-drenched tents, unwashed bodies, and being chased by bears, Sweden might just be the place for you.
From the country that brought us the Ice Hotel, there’s now a warmer option for those not too afraid of heights. Treehotel is located in northern Sweden, in the Harads, near the Lule River and consists of stand-alone apartments suspended among the tall pines of the forest. The ‘tree rooms’ are modern oases in the Lapland wilderness with spectacular views of across the treetop to the Lule River. The rooms are themed with names ranging from the UFO to the Mirrorcube. 24 rooms are planned for the Treehotel and the latest is the aptly-named 7th Room.
Norwegian architecture firm, Snøhetta led the design of the Nordic treehouse suspended over 30-feet above the ground. Twelve thin columns support the cabin, reducing the load on the trees and giving the impression the cabin is floating in the trees. It was built as a traditional Nordic cabin, clad with pine boards with a burnt surface to create a dark and maintenance-free surface.
As you approach the cabin through the forest the structure is partially camouflaged with a large print on the underside of trees reaching up into the sky and a see-through netted, open center area with a tree rising through it adds to the illusion. A staircase provides egress to the tree room and a small lift saves anyone from lugging suitcases up 30-plus feet.
At almost 600-square-feet, the cabin comfortable accommodates up to 5 people with two bedrooms located at opposite ends, a bathroom, and a social lounge area. The lounge area contains a central pellet stove and simple Scandinavian furniture. The flooring is ash wood and birch plywood was used for the walls. In true Nordic fashion, the blonde wooden interior surfaces contrast with the dark exterior.
The design approach of Snøhetta and the purpose of Treehotel itself, is to bring people and nature together. All of the rooms have large windows for ample natural light and spectacular views. The social area is named Northern Light Lounge with a north-facing glass façade offering and opportunity to catch the aurora borealis, if you’re lucky. The bedrooms also have expansive, openable skylights for those who want to look up at the night sky.
A large glass door leads out to the netted area in the center of the cabin for the intrepid visitor wanting to get even closer to nature. The double net extends the lounge area with a tree extending through the net up to the sky. The really adventurous can grab a sleeping bag and spend the night suspended above the ground and under the stars.
The 7th Room looks to be the lucky number for Treehotel and Snøhetta with this latest Nordic cabin addition to the lineup. It’s going to be difficult to continue topping the previous designs but at least they have 17 more tries to go.
[photography by Johan Jansson]