Sweden’s Treehotel is a Natural Wonder

Through low-impact design, Sweden's Treehotel helps preserve the precious landscape its guests come here to enjoy

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Kent Lindvall and his wife, Britta Jonsson-Lindvall, are natives of Swedish Lapland, an intriguing 43,000-square-mile region in the country’s far north that’s blanketed with pristine woodlands, rivers and lakes. Year round, the region’s remote beauty lures international travelers who crave a connection to nature. Eager to provide just that, in 2010 the couple opened Treehotel on a wooded hillside near the village of Harads.

Inspired by the 2008 Jonas Helberg Augustsén film “The Tree Lover,” the Lindvalls commissioned a handful of prominent Scandinavian architects to design a standalone room apiece. Each room would be suspended among the trees, four to six meters above ground. Bolle Tham and Martin Videgård came up with the Mirror Cube; Mårten and Gustav Cyrén conceived The Cabin; Thomas Sandell designed the deceptively named, bright-orange Blue Cone; and Bertil Harström, who wanted to design “a room in close harmony with its surroundings” and another that was anything but, ultimately did both, designing Bird’s Nest and The UFO. The Dragonfly, designed by Finland’s Rintala Eggertsson, and 7th Room, by Norway’s Snöhetta, came later.

Although their designs vary widely, all the treerooms were constructed and furnished using low-environmental-impact techniques and materials. No trees on the build sites were cut down or damaged, and power is supplied from a local, hydroelectric source. In lieu of a water-guzzling sewage system, electric combustion toilets incinerate waste at a scorching 1,000-plus degrees.

Kent Lindvall revealed that an eighth tree room might soon be on the way, this one of Danish design. Although he couldn’t yet divulge more details, he all but counted out any further expansion, lest the Treehotel site become crowded. “We want our guests to have the feeling that they’re nearly alone in the forest,” he says. They would agree, naturally.

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Text by Lindsay Lambert Day
Photography courtesy of Treehotel, Sweden

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