Hidden away in the picturesque forests of Swedish Lapland is Treehotel, a luxury complex consisting of eight distinct rooms suspended four to six metres above the ground. Conceived by husband-and-wife team Kent Lindvall and Britta Jonsson-Lindvall after watching Jonas Selberg Augustsen’s film ‘The Tree Lover’, a documentary about treehouses, Treehotel is something of a utopia for nature lovers.
Scandinavian architectural firms like Snøhetta and Rintala Eggertsson Architects have designed the unique structures – now the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has contributed a spherical treehouse known as Biosphere to the property.
Suspended between pine trees high above the ground, and accessible via a sky bridge, the 34m² suite looks out onto 340 wooden bird boxes and their inhabitants, which makes for an immersive experience for guests. It accommodates only two people, but boasts a cosy lounge, double bed, shower, incinerating toilet, sauna, and rooftop terrace that provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding forest. A sustainable Rukkamoinika water system has been installed, which provides three litres of water for handwashing.
Both interior and exterior reflect quintessential elements of Nordic design: clean, minimal lines, organic materials, and neutral palettes. These thoughtful elements enhance the pristine surroundings – there’s no flashy ornamentation to distract from the natural world.
A key element of the suite – important in a country often swathed in darkness – is how it makes the most of sunlight. The glass walls create a lightness inside the living space, while the darker colours of the interior are used to draw guests’ vision outwards towards the forest.
Biosphere has been built with a keen focus on sustainability and the environment. The bird houses offer safe haven to many different varieties of birdlife, as well as bees and bats.
In its construction, the architects collaborated with Ulf Öhman from Norrbotten Ornithological Association. With Öhman’s assistance, BIG was able to design a space that might help combat the decreasing bird populations in the area – a result of climate change and forestry. Öhman also noted that birds don’t drop where they nest, so there won’t be any interference with the glass walls of the structure.
The space offers a vision of species co-habitation, where humans can live seamlessly alongside local fauna. Biosphere enhances the environment without sacrificing the comfort and aesthetic pleasure of hotel guests, making it a welcome addition to the Treehotel complex.