Cabin in the woods

Matali Crasset has designed four eco-friendly forest houses for adventurers, art lovers, hikers and walkers to reconnect with nature.

As part of an art programme in the Verdant Forest in France, Matali Crasset has designed four woodland houses that allow visitors to enjoy nature with minimal impact.

After years of creating artworks along footpaths, Les Vent des Forêts commissioned Crasset to initiate a new project calling on adventurers, art lovers, hikers and walkers to reconnect with nature in a sustainable way.

Crasset, along with local volunteers, created four “Maison Sylvestres” or “Forest Houses” within the 5000-hectare forest belonging to the surrounding six villages, which host artists during the summer months when they showcase their work along the forest footpaths.

Each house is built around a theme and christened with names like “Chrysalide”, “Brocard”, “Champignon” and “Nichoir”. Blending the inside with the outside, they feature terraces, central rooms and porch swings, all of which allow visitors to blend in with their surroundings while they recharge and experience nature with zero impact.

The project involved taking the forest as a living material to inspire the imagination. To achieve this, it was necessary to confront the forest with humility, to listen to it and to observe it, says Crasset.

Each cabin is made from materials including acacia, Douglas fir and galvanised steel. Being foundation free, the structures can be moved around the forest without harming nature or upsetting the ecosystem.

The first two “Maison Sylvestres” named “Nichoir” and “Brocard” were opened to the public earlier this year, while “Chrysalide” and “Champignon” are due for completion in 2014.

Watch the Talk with Matali Crasset