Sweden’s Invisible Treehouse Hotel

by Matt Forcey

Vacancy!  One of four room styles at treehotel, a new hotel complex composed entirely of outlandish tree houses, the “mirrorcube” is situated 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden.  Looking somewhat like a hunting blind for the creature in the Predator movies, the mirrorcube hangs around a single tree trunk, about 30 feet above the ground. 

The 13ft x 13ft x 13ft cube is constructed from lightweight aluminium, glass and sustainably harvested wood, and features an electric floor heating system, an eco-friendly incineration toilet (ahhh, nothing quite like the smell of roasting poo), and a water-efficient hand basin.  Accessed by rope ladder, the cube accommodates two eco-tourists, an includes a large bed, small kitchenette, bathroom, living room, and even a roof terrace.

The exterior, as you may have guessed, is entirely covered with mirrored glass (strategically placed two-way glass creates a number of windows).  “Everything will reflect in this- the trees, the birds, the clouds, the sun, everything.  So, it should be invisible nearly in the forest” says hotel co-founder Kent Lindvall.  But Kent, what about those birds you mentioned?  Do you plan on having a fowl-centric room service menu?  Treehotel’s program director, Anette Selberg, assures us that the glass will be covered in a special infrared film that is visible to birds. “This is just one of the steps being taken to minimize treehotel’s impact on local wildlife.”

I have high regard for those with the huevos to push the conventional boundaries and introduce us to new ideas and exceptional ways of looking at things.  When it comes to boutique hotels, the folks in Sweden seem to be driving the car.  Check out the Hotel Under a Lake or the famous Icehotel as further proof. 

On his website, Me and the Rolling Stones, rock & roll business manager Ron Schneider shares a day he spent with John Lennon and Yoko in 1969.  “John was drawing  a picture of what he envisioned a house should be.  He said it should be made of mirrors so it reflects the sky, trees, grass, nature.  He said it should be invisible so a plane could fly over and only see the ground.”

As a worshiper of great architecture, I’m not sure I agree with John’s zero footprint vision, but think we’d probably find common ground talking about advances in eco-friendly building design and construction, like we see at treehotel.  So for me, for John, and for fans of progressive design everywhere, we say “thank you” to mirrorcube designers, the architectural firm of Tham & Videgard, for thinking… well, inside the box.


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