The hotel industry is reinventing itself with accommodations in art galleries, suspended cabins and disaster-proof buildings.
Yu Tazawa, Keigo Fukugaki, Kenji Daikoku and Yuto Maeda, BnA Hotel Koenji. Photo: Courtesy of BnA Hotel Koenji
“We work with our artists from the ground up, everything from materials, lighting locations, to even the shape of the room,” says Fukugaki.
How’s that for a fresh meaning to the idea of art “work?”
The 7th Room Treehotel
From its “roots” in 12 columns bored into the Lapland forest floor to the soaring cabin perched on top, opposites don’t just attract—they interact. That's what turns international architecture and design firm Snøhetta's vision into a multilayered space that’s as unexpected in its treehouse setting as the hotel’s original concept itself.
Blonde wood tables contrast with the darkness of the trees outside. The sunken floor provides a cozy nest for the beds. Photo: Johan Jansson
The contrast starts with the Snøhetta team's decision to suspend the suite not from actual trees, but on the manmade columns. But the team wanted to create an instant connection to the natural world. So, a photo of the forest before the cabin’s construction is printed on aluminum plates that make up the bottom of the structure. A pine tree serves as one anchor point for a netted terrace.
A minimalist color palette lets the view dominate. Layering hard and soft textures brings in dimension. Photo: Johan Jansson
A slick take on midcentury modern gives the interior a single distinct personality, but a slight variance in the floor height keeps up the dichotomous vibe. “It creates a dynamic leveling by using imbedded furniture with seating in the lounge, as well as space for beds. This also reduces the amount of loose furniture, which makes for more efficient layout,” says Jenny Osuldsen, partner/director, Snøhetta. “We made sure all steps are highly visible to reduce tripping hazards.”
Jenny Osuldsen, Snøhetta. Photo: Courtesy of Snøhetta
Those dual levels also called for a very specific lighting program that was still practical, given that all mechanicals had to be fitted into one support column. The answer? Three prototype fixtures, one suspended lamp and two bed lamps, designed in collaboration with a lighting manufacturer that also crafted the illumination for the six other treehouses on the site.
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