Scandanavian Style Sets this Stilted Cabin a Level Above the Rest

This light, vertiginous wooden treehouse is the newest design from Hanna Michelson, the Stockholm-based architect who’s spent her entire career caught between architecture and textile design. The first of a series of four boutique getaway spaces planned for the Bergaliv Landscape Hotel in Northern Sweden, Loft House’s light interior and gabled roof towers 33ft above the dramatic Ljusnan River Valley in Hälsingland.

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The getaway is composed of two 14sqm storeys: the first, an enclosed living space; the second, a covered and sheltered outdoors area providing a panoramic and elevated view of the Åsberget mountains. The timber structure is built principally from Swedish wood, using heart pine and organically treated spruce wood for the exterior, and local craftsmen from Hälsingland for the handiwork. It took 9 tough months of on/off building, fighting against the inaccessibility of the location and the inhospitably snowy weather conditions, to bring Hanna’s vision to life.

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Futon mattresses provide simple sleeping solutions in a stripped-back birch interior, one whose minimalist design “intends to clear the room of unnecessary noise and at the same time invite light and space” into the cabin. These adaptable ‘beds’ can be hung on the walls to save space in daylight hours; a wooden bench by the window provides a reflective space when the temperature on the roof gets too chill.

This shouldn’t be a problem inside – the walls are insulated with flax fibres, following the lead of old Nordic building traditions. The towels and the linens are also 100% flax. The material is “a bit of a romantic choice,” Hanna confesses, “since the flax-flower is the flower of Hälsingland’s landscape.”

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The space is fully rigged with lighting, heating, and water, and the 1875 SEK (around £175) per-person per-night price tag includes one day at the nearby Orbaden Spa & Resort, and a delivered breakfast of fresh bread from a local baker.

The concept of the four-site getaway was cooked up by her and her Father, both struck by the beauty of the former ski-slope, on which a tranquil birch forest has since taken root. “We were both struck by the peacefulness of it, combined with the dramatic view that gave life to big thoughts and a particular kind of life perspective.”

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We picked her brains for the kind of big thoughts behind this lofty design.

THE PLUS: What kind of people do you imagine will rent the Loft House?
Hanna Michelson:
I imagine myself to be precisely one of them: living in the city, fed with media murmurs and constant noise, seldom finding the time to take notice of the subtle wonders of nature, and never seeing the stars because the city lights are too bright.

TP: So Loft House is a kind of modern cure?
HM:
The Loft House provides today’s new luxuries: silence, time to experience and process, and of course the immediate presence of nature. For many of us there is also a need to distance ourselves from our everyday problems, and the high location and the expansive view actually helps you to do that.

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TP: What inspired the shape of the building?
HM:
I’ve always found load-bearing timber structures very beautiful, and often find myself wanting to halt the completion of a building as soon as the structure has been raised. This inspired me to let the structure reveal itself on the loft and below the house.

TP: How did you want it to fit in with the local architecture?
HM:
Two local building types that the loft house refers to are the characteristic clocktowers of Hälsingland’s churches, and the “härbre” – a historical granary that is common in the area.

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TP: What sort of things influenced your design?
HM:
On a trip to Japan I visited a tea house that really made an impression on me. I love the idea of the Tea House, with its slow rituals, airy spaces, and strong connection to its surrounding garden.

TP: What are three things we’d find on the Loft House mood board?
HM:
1.The Ljusnan Valley Scenery – it would be impossible not to include it.
2. A palette of raw natural materials- contrasting structures and smooth polished stone next to rough textile weaves. 
3.Naked feet against worn-down wooden planks – the Loft House can seem all about the visuals, but it’s just as much about one’s connection to nature and origins through tactile experience.

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Photos by Hanna Michelson.

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