Snøhetta has been working with local Norwegian entrepreneur Tom Bjarte Norland, Norwegian furniture manufacturer Eikund, and Danish interior brand Vipp to develop a unique experience on the edge of Lysefjorden on the Norwegian west coast.
The Bolder project consists of four cabins lifted over the ground designed to harmonize in the best possible way with the surrounding nature and blur the lines between indoors and outdoors.
The project, which started in 2020, grew out of the desire to create an experience that is truly special and authentic, where nature plays a major part. The four cabins, named: Stylten, Myra, Stjerna and Eldhuset are located on the edge of Lysefjorden, built to blend in with landscape with a minimal footprint on the surrounding nature. They are lifted above ground on large concrete pillars and have glass facades for guests to appreciate the natural surroundings from inside their private cabin and to bring the outdoors inside.
With the Bolder project, Snøhetta strived to preserve the nature and enhance the experience of moving in an untouched landscape, with the smallest possible footprint on the surroundings. The cabins are lifted over the ground to create a weightless feeling on the edge of the spectacular, steep mountain sides, diving down into the clear blue fjord.
The goal was to create a total experience for the visitors - coming back to a cozy, warm wooden nest with a spectacular panoramic view of the ever-changing weather after a full day of hiking along the fjord.
Outside is inside
When stepping inside, guests are left with the illusion of floating in the air on the cliff's edge with unobstructed views over the fjord and mountains filled with Bonsai-like pine trees and boulders left by the glaciers when the ice age came to an end thousands of years ago.
To draw the serenity of nature inside the cabins, a minimalistic design ethos with furniture in natural and durable materials in earthy colors and organic textures was opted for in the interior design and styling. Thoughtfulness underpins the interior choices and accentuates the meditative flow evoked by the space.
The cabins boast an upper floor with a kitchen and dining area by Vipp and a ground floor with a built-in bed and bathroom. Wood, marble, and leather are recurring materials of choice in the selection of furniture. In contrast, the concrete flooring on the lower level adds a roughness to a sensible décor.
“We are proud to have done this project together with Snøhetta. The choice was easy when we were looking for someone to design these cabins in one of Norway’s most spectacular places. For the interior, Vipp has a timeless and honest elegance combined with a solid and functional refinement which is of great importance when you have guests every day. This aesthetic fits well with our concept of architecture in nature", says Tom Bjarte Norland.
At one with nature
To reflect the nature of the building site, dominated by granite and slow-growing pine trees, Snøhetta chose to work with wood and concrete with aggregate from the actual site as the primary materials for the project. The trees that had to be taken down during the construction have been set aside to be re-used for other parts of the projects, and the granite that has been cut out of the ground has been used to make the concrete for the construction.
The wood used to build the cabins is untreated red Cedar that will gray with time, to create a natural look and to blend into the rocky landscape. The Oak wood used inside is treated differently in the three small cabins, so visitors can have a slightly different experience when coming back.
Shaped from the inside
The cabins are precise objects shaped from the inside, each focusing on the views and the qualities of the different rooms. The natural overlight and the large glass panels always gives the inside a calming variation of the natural color specter throughout the day and through all kinds of weather – while keeping contact with the sky. The roof is mirrored on the underside to create an object free from the ground – hovering above the edge. The shape of the overlight is the same in size and placement as the concrete base. Asymmetric placed, it creates the illusion that cabins are tilted out to the fjord, strengthening the sensation of weightlessness.
Like a nest
Both the inside and outside walls and roofs merge into one uniform shape. Letting the object be a singular object in the landscape and homogeneous on the inside. This gives the cabins a shallow and solid feeling, in many ways like a nest. Details on the inside are minimal and precise to ensure a complete experience with clean surfaces to not interfere with the spectacular view.
The light bridges above the landscape are made of Corten steel which also belongs to the natural material pallet in the area. Also lifted above the ground to minimize the footprint, the dimmed, neutral lights provide just enough light for the visitors to maintain the view in all directions also when the sun has set. Adding to the uniqueness of the Bolder cabins with the unobstructed views of the wild and constantly changing environment available day and night from your bedside. A true twenty-four-seven experience.
Except for electricity powering the light and the amenities in the cabins, the site is off the grid. The naturally sourced spring water coming out of the treatment plant under the parking is cleaner than the water in the local river running over the mountain.
The Bolder project will also feature two additional constructions set to be completed within the next few years – including a lounge and a gourmet restaurant serving locally sourced food.
Three of the cabins are now completed and open for bookings from 1st of February. The last one, Eldhuset, is universally designed and will open around easter.