Snøhetta has completed a treetop retreat seemingly floating among the forest canopy of pine trees for the Treehotel in northern Sweden. As you near the seventh room from below and look up at the sky, the entire underside of the building is covered by a life size photograph of the treetops as they looked before the room was put in place. This clever camouflage piques one’s curiosity. What is hiding up there?
The room is located ten metres up in the pines. The way up is an experience in itself. Stairs and landings take visitors closer to the clouds, step by step. As you reach the large, lush, Lapland treetops, with a breath taking view of the Lule River, you have arrived at your destination. Large panoramic windows face north and along with skylights in the bedrooms, they will allow guests to watch the magnificent northern lights. The room has been designed with various ‘experience levels’.
Twelve columns carry the cabin, reducing the load borne by the trees and its impact on the surrounding forest. This gives a feeling of height and weightlessness, as well as stability. Built as a traditional Nordic cabin, the wooden façade is clad with pine boards. The surface is burnt to create a dark and maintenance free façade. The indoor flooring is made from ash wood, while birch plywood is used for the interior walls. With complementing light, wooden furniture, the interior makes up a blonde Nordic contrast to the dark exterior.
The 55-square meter space is designed to create a place for living. With two bedrooms, a social lounge area, bathroom, and the airy terrace, the cabin accommodates up to five guests.
The most spectacular level may well be the patio which consists of a net. A natural pine grows through net and its branches spread out, allowing you to climb out and sit there, with the strong net safely below. You can lie face down and look downwards, lie on your back, listen to the sounds of the forest and look up at the starry sky. Here, on the border between Heaven and Earth, you can even sleep outdoors, should you wish to, or indoors, inside the new suite with two separate bedrooms.
The design of the 7th room aims to bring people and nature closer together, extending the cabin’s social spaces to the outside and further blending the distinction between indoor and outdoor. Entering the cabin, one arrives into the lounge area. This is thought of as a social space, and it is furnished with a central pellet stove and simple, yet characteristic furniture such as Scandia Chair by Norwegian furniture designer Hans Brattrud. A north-facing floor-to-ceiling window gives you the best chance to see the Aurora Borealis on a clear day, giving this social space the name the Northern Light lounge.
A large glass door leads from the lounge area out on the netted terrace. The double-layered net spans between the two bedrooms with a pine tree peeking through in the middle. Extending the social space of the lounge, the net becomes a great opportunity for coming even closer to nature. For the brave ones, a sleeping bag is all you need to enjoy the night under the starry night sky. Guests sleeping inside can also look up at the night sky, with expansive, openable skylights in both bedrooms. The bedrooms are located on opposite sides of the cabin, facing the central tree and net, with large sliding glass doors to enter out on the net.
Treehotel was set up by Kent Lindvall and his wife Britta in 2010 for tourists visiting the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights. The business has another six themed treehouse suites, all designed by Scandinavian architects. This latest addiction designed by Snøhetta is the tallest and largest of the treehouses to date.
all images © Johan Jansson