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This Norwegian mountain cabin is local pinewood through-and-through

Elevated on top of a mountain neighbouring the Norwegian ski resort Kvitfjell lies the Kvitfjell Cabin, that ticks all the boxes for the quintessential Scandinavian city escape. Design Milk writes that the five-room narrow cabin stretches itself 26 meters along the elevated mountain landscape.

The house is fully built out of local pinewood, with the internal walls made out of white oiled pine to make the sun-starved Norwegian winters as bright as possible. The external walls are made out of untreated wood, that will fade into a more grey fade as they age.

Designer Erling Berg’s use of local wood together with the minimalistic design approach oozes Scandinavia. Cabins are a great start, but the sustainable design path of wooden structures will hopefully keep evolving. When done right, it can be pleasing to the eye as well as to the environment.

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IO House’s resourceful mobile home lets you lodge in luxury wherever, whenever

IO House is a Stockholm-based manufacturer of luxury off-grid homes, and their maiden project is called The Space. It’s a 60 square meter big mobile home that can be transferred and installed anywhere you like it. And there’s no need to worry about the hassle of finding nearby electricity or water resources — the house has a private power supply and an internet connection, and the water and sewage tanks are big enough to last for two weeks for two people. The Space is equipped to the teeth with a dishwasher, gas stove, refrigerator, and washing machine. The home is also entirely controlled by a smartphone app, that keeps you connected to the house at all times.

— We like to think of it as a luxurious yacht that you can permanently live in and take anywhere you like – complete flexibility with all the comfort, says Mario Ojalo, CEO of IO House.

Once you’ve decided where to put the mobile home, be it next to your favourite golf course or perhaps some friends’ immobile summer house, IO House helps to arrange a transfer by truck. The Space can get mounted on a regular freight truck and is suitable for delivery by road up to 90 km/h.

The home was designed and developed with Scandinavian design values as a cornerstone, and made built out of organic, non-synthetic materials. The interior is made out of a mix of wood, metal and glass which makes for a modern feel.

— We have aimed to maximize comfort and privacy at the same time. At IO House we know how important it is to spend time with yourself, your loved ones and switch off from everyday troubles. Hence, we wanted to create a home, where everyone could just relax and enjoy the view, adds Mario Ojalo.

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Boy in Oslo

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NASA and BIG shoot for the moon in new lunar city project

The highly progressive Danish architecture group BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) is no stranger to futuristic and groundbreaking ideas and projects. The Project Olympus might take the cake though, as the company collaborates with NASA and 3D-printing specialists ICON to develop and imagine various 3D-printed buildings on the moon, built by moon dust and other materials found in its surface.

NASA is considering to place lunar terrain vehicles, habitable mobility platforms and surface habitat on the Moon before 2030. For NASA, this means that scientific research and extraterrestrial living can be explored further, with the moon working as a big test lab, or perhaps a layover, for future Mars excursions.

— We want to increase the technology readiness level and test systems to prove it would be feasible to develop a large-scale 3D printer that could build infrastructure on the Moon or Mars, said Corky Clinton, associate director of Marshall’s Science and Technology Office to NASA.

The different buildings will be built and run autonomously by excavation robots. The process of building landing pads and roads can’t really be imitated on construction sites on Earth, so NASA hopes that a large-scale construction system could be autonomous and equipped to work without astronauts’ help. For the designers and architects at BIG, this means completely new ways of planning their ideas.

— To explain the power of architecture, “formgiving” is the Danish word for design, which literally means to give form to that which has not yet been given form. This becomes fundamentally clear when we venture beyond Earth and begin to imagine how we are going to build and live on entirely new worlds. With ICON we are pioneering new frontiers – both materially, technologically and environmentally. The answers to our challenges on Earth very well might be found on the Moon, says Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director at BIG.

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The variable Helix treehouse suits any Scandinavian landscape

British architect and designer Antony Gibbon creates concepts of buildings that are close to nature, or even a part of it. The Embryo, for example, looks like it’s attached to the actual tree trunks that it’s stuck to. The Helix Tree House is similar in it’s mimicking nature, but rather than being built into a tree, it wants to mimic a tree altogether thus making it a proper treehouse.

The Helix works as a two-story house. The bathroom, lounge, kitchenette are located on the bottom floor, with a bedroom on the top floor that is accessed via a spiralling staircase. The exterior of the Helix is clad in slatted wooden beams and the turning facade that resembles the double helix shape of the DNA molecule. Depending on where you wish to place the Helix, the big bedroom window can give you unique and elevated views.

We reached out Gibbons to hear more about the eyecatching living spaces.

What gave you the idea of the turning facade?

— I was particularly interested in biomimicry and biophilia when designing these treehouses. I wanted to create rustic structures which blended into the surrounding environment to create a unique glamping feel. 

Will they be available in Scandinavia?

— Yes, we work with different building teams around the globe local to the region of the client to keep costs down and use local materials as much as possible.

Where would you like to place a Helix Treehouse?

— Anywhere as long as it sits into its surrounding landscape. These structures need trees around them to help work with the design so the Helix does not stand out too much. 

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Leading Scandinavian architecture firms 3XN and Link amplify Copenhagen hospital

Rigshospitalet, based in central Copenhagen, opened it’s newly built north wing earlier this week. The design is the result of a close collaboration between Norwegian LINK, Danish 3XN and Swedish Sweco, making for a remarkable Scandinavian architectural coalition.

In order to blend in with its central Copenhagen surroundings the facade is draped in glass and natural light stone material, and the side of the building that faces residential blocks is lower than the higher side that faces the hospital.

The new section is simple yet effectively built on a series of folded V-structures all tied together by a transversal link. This ensures optimal logistics and proximity between the hospital’s different units and therefore minimizing the walking distances for hospital staff.

The glass laden building front faces Fælledparken and make for natural views for staff and patients. This also means a lot of natural light that will light up the green hospital wing.

— We are happy to inaugurate the new wing, which marks a major step for a more contemporary and spacious Rigshospital. We’ve have had a constructive collaboration with architects, engineers and interior designers, staff and patient needs, says hospital director Per Christiansen in a statement.

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These wooden charging stations embody the electric mobility experience

Danish architecture firm Cobe has unveiled plans to build new ultra-fast charging stations at 46 different locations all over Europe. The wooden tree-like structure that builds up the charging stations is a refreshing take on the gray and dull gas station that we are used to today. Because of their modular concept, the stations can vary in size and dynamism depending on where they are installed. Two vastly different stations have already been built in the Danish towns of Fredericia and Knudshoved for drivers to charge their EVs.

The charging stations will pop up in Scandinavia to start with, and you can’t say it isn’t on track with the region’s progressive mindset. In Norway, 60% of all newly registered cars are either pure EVs or plug-in hybrids. Sweden ranks number three on countries with most electric cars per capita, and Denmark is seeing a reduced overall carbon emission, many thanks to the introduction of electric vehicles.

— Electric vehicles are the way of the future. With our design we offer EV drivers a welcome break and an opportunity to recharge mentally in a green oasis. The energy and the technology are green, so we wanted the architecture, the materials and the concept to reflect that. Hence, we designed a charging station in sustainable materials placed in a clean, calm setting with trees and plants that offer people a dose of mindfulness on the highway, explains architect and founder Dan Stubbergaard.

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SynVillan lets you blend in with nature at Scandinavia’s biggest safari park

SynVillan, which roughly translates to ”optical illusion”, is located in Blekinge in the southeast of Sweden at the hotel and nature reserve Eriksberg. The room that holds up to four people is elevated three meters over the ground and overlooks an archipelago bay, and the eye-catching mirrored facade of the heightened room pays great homage to the surrounding wildlife by simply reflecting it.

Architect Thomas Sandell from the Sandellandsandberg firm designed the project and took inspiration from the region’s traditional residential architecture. The roof is made from reeds and the walls are made out of polished patterned steel for the mirrored effect. The room also features a glass panel on the floor which allows visitors to see bison, deer, sheep, boar, and other animals that roam the nature reserve.

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Historical meets contemporary at Nybrogatan 17

Nybrogatan, one of Stockholm’s most prominent streets, has just been supplemented with a new office building on Nybrogatan 17. The new spaces, owned by property owners Humlegården, host 6000 square meters of commercial space as well as 18 new apartments, and the modern brick-laden facade contrasts the ancient neighboring buildings to create a Scandinavian mixture of old and new.

Danish architecture firm 3XN was hired to create the office building, which has a twisting and turning glass facade that faces the courtyard. The modern offices are built right next to the ancient Astoria building, a former cinema that dates back to 1874. The old theater spaces are now refurbished to host Brasseri Astoria, a new restaurant led by chef Björn Frantzén most famous for his Michelin three-star restaurant Frantzén.

— We are creating office spaces with the best conditions. It has never been more important to have a dynamic context. Nybrogatan and its surrounding blocks are some of Stockholm’s most intriguing places, stores and restaurants, says Peter Lind, property manager at Humlegården.

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TheKrane is Copenhagen’s ultimate social distancing getaway retreat

In Nordhavn, one of Copenhagen’s last remaining industrial harbor sites, an old coal crane has been refurbished into a luxury one-room two-person hotel. If you’re keen on an elegant Nordic minimalist hotel experience free from breakfast buffé queues, look no further.

Originally built in 1944, the former industrial crane was meant for loading and unloading raw materials to and from cargo ships that entered Nordhavn (the North Harbour) before its transformation. When owner Klaus Kastbjerg and architect Mads Møller started working on the idea of the hotel, they realized that they had to take advantage of every inch of the old crane.

— The hotel room is located on the top of The Krane in what used to be the old engine room with cogwheels, metal wires, iron, steel and brawn. The old wheelhouse (where the guy operating the crane would sit) hangs directly above the water at 15 metres. The wheelhouse is now an astonishing lounge and lookout with a cosy daybed and floor to ceiling window facing Svanemøllen, the marina and Tuborg Harbour on the opposite side of the water, says head of communications Nicki Lykke.

The hotel also packs a spa located in an old shipping container eight meters above the ground, but thanks to its size it’s only accessible by the hotel guests. The idea of a one-room, two person hotel is perhaps more suitable than ever. Denmark has not established the most stringent of Corona related restrictions, and their borders are starting to open up to many countries. 

— We’ve of course felt a decline in bookings like everyone else. However, in these times of isolation more Danish guests have shown an interest in the staycation concept and self-pampering – and what better place to do it than here? Nicki Lykke wonders.