Gjesåsen, Norway – In the middle of Norway’s Finnskogen forest, two treehouses jut up from the earth, surrounded by gangly pines. You don’t actually have to climb a tree to get to them, rather ascend a spiralling steel staircase. The A-frame typology may look familiar to Americans and Canadians, but these are no ordinary cabins: they’re every Insta-camper’s dream, and a mere two hours from Oslo.
The 40-sq-m Pan treetop-cabins were proposed to architect Espen Survenik by Kristian Rostad and Christine Mowinckel, owners and residents of the property. Together with structural engineer Finn-Erik Nilsen, they imagined what would become ‘lighthouses in the forest’: structures with warm, inviting interiors and contrasting matte black exteriors that could blend in seamlessly with the diverse ecosystem.
Naturally, there were a variety of variables to consider while dealing so intimately with the environment; safety and energy efficiency were major priorities for the team. Four pillars anchor the cabins to the rocky soil and proof them for extreme weather. The tall steel design poses the least disruption possible to the topography, placed for maximum natural light and minimum intrusion to neighbouring animal habitats. For human visitors, the height adds a crucial element to the stay: a positive feeling of security and enclosure.
Light pinewood adorns the geometric interiors and textiles are made from 100 per cent local wool. But possibly the best part yet? Full insulation and heated floors – the cabins are one destination you won’t have to pack a mummy sleeping bag for. A mezzanine hosts a double bed and extra sleeping places are integrated into the walls, ready to be tilted out when necessary. And cooking burgers – veggie or otherwise – over a bonfire is unnecessary – each cabin is outfitted with a small kitchen and fireplace.
On paper, the contemporary Pan cabins are like a paradise compared to traditional camping, yet they stray from pretentiousness: in spite of all the amenities promised, Survenik’s unobtrusive design enables visitors to truly immerse themselves in Norway's beauty without distraction – glamping, au naturel.