You may remember me mentioning a feature about the importance of swapping city life for a few days of rural seclusion which I recently read in Oak – The Nordic Journal. Well, it included an account of a stay at the Vipp Shelter, a prefabricated cabin designed by Danish brand Vipp, and it left me intrigued to find out more.
I’ve seen the shelter popping up on a few blogs and Pinterest boards over the last year or so, but I hadn’t realised before now just what an innovative concept it is. Designed as a ready-made country retreat, it consists of a steel frame which supports two living spaces – an open-plan kitchen and dining area in one half and a sitting area and bathroom in the other, with a sleeping loft (reached via a ladder) above.
The shelter was the brainchild of Vipp’s chief designer, Morten Bo Jensen, who was keen to apply the company’s steel-manufacturing experience to an entirely new area. He describes it as ‘neither a house nor a mobile home, but a spacious, functional and liveable industrial object’. The idea is that customers provide the land and then order the shelter, which is manufactured off site and delivered as a finished product a few months later. It comes with everything you could ever need for an escape to the country, from kitchen fittings and lighting to crockery, cutlery and bedding. There’s even a toothbrush holder!
The starting point for the shelter’s development was a desire to go back to basics: back to nature, and back to compact, simple living spaces where everything has a purpose and nothing is superfluous. The sliding glass walls, skylights and minimal black interior were designed to frame the surrounding landscape, blurring the distinction between indoors and the outside world. Inside, it’s been arranged to maximise every centimetre of space, allowing enough room for a full kitchen and an island unit without creating any sense of clutter. At the very heart is a fireplace, which is positioned to quickly heat the entire area.
The prototype shelter pictured here is situated on a remote lakeshore in southern Sweden (potential customers can arrange visits) and it looks strikingly beautiful within the landscape. The glass windows reflect the colours of the changing seasons, and almost every corner gazes out over the water and trees.
The shelter certainly isn’t cheap (€485,000 for 52sqm of space), but I can see why it’s captured so many people’s imaginations – and why it won a coveted Wallpaper* design award last year. It’s a sleek, contemporary take on the traditional cabin and, if I had the money, I’d happily escape every now and then to a comfortable glass-and-steel box hidden deep in the woods. In the meantime, I can always dream…
Images via Vipp