Set on a snowy mountain slope or by the water, in the Nordic fjords or in an American forest, the humble cabin is one of the most hard-working typologies. These small but perfectly formed structures can be used for anything from a workspace to a family vacation home or a secluded retreat for one. Smart as they are functional and minimalist in feel and nature, cabins have lots to offer; ever more so, in the current pandemic climate, when extra space becomes more important than ever and connecting to nature is critical. Here we round up some of the genre’s best. 

Majamaja Cabin, Finland

Photography: Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

Facilitated by the City of Helsinki and offering visitors the option to stay at a serene spot on the Finnish archipelago, this cabin includes minimalistic wooden design and the highest ecological standards. Part of what will in the future become a whole ‘village’, this off-grid living experience is designed and masterminded by Littow Architects. The structure includes a clean, flexible living space as well as shower, kitchen and a dry toilet. Cleverly integrated furniture and a sophisticated white and grey colour palette form a functional interior with a distinct contemporary feel. Large openings allow the user to take in the scenery, which includes a sea-view over the Suomenlinna sea fortress and Unesco heritage site. The first Majamaja unit has now been constructed at Vuorilahdenniemi, Helsinki – while more are in the pipeline. 

Dwelling On Wheels (The DW), USA

Seattle-based custom studios maker The Modern Shed has launched its first ever portable cabin. The design, named Dwelling On Wheels – a.k.a. The DW – does just what it says on the tin; it provides its owner with a flexible, compact little home that can travel to be installed wherever you want your life or work to be. ‘The DW can do a lot – it’s great for enjoying nature short-term, for off-grid living, or as a second, remote home,’ says the company’s owner Ryan Smith. The clean overall volume design continues inside in an all-wood wrapped interior. Smart, built-in storage, solar panels on the roof, a wood burning stove and high-intensity, slim insulation paneling in the walls are some of the project’s clever design and living features. A small entrance deck, connected to the ground via a retractable staircase, can expand to form a porch, providing the perfect spot to sit and relax. 

Space of Mind, Finland

Space of Mind cabin view from below
Photography: Marc Goodwin

A collaboration between three Finnish studios, Space of Mind was conceived as a modular cabin to house a workspace, personal yoga or meditation studio, art studio, or guest bedroom. It could sit in a back yard, a more rural setting, or even a rooftop. Architecture studio Puisto, specialist interiors manufacturers Protos Demos and design house Made by Choice created the modern cabin as a dedicated space to think, recharge and unwind – ‘somewhere we can find our own peace of mind,’ explains the team. The cabin, a clean, minimalist, contemporary design, is made as a mass timber construction using ecologically sourced Finnish wood – this means it’s very durable against the elements too. Coming at just under 10 sq m total, the compact space comes with its own custom furniture that attaches to the wooden structure. It has been created light enough to travel and install even in the remotest locations. ‘As a concept, Space of Mind was initially developed in response to the on-going pandemic,’ says the team. ‘With many of us now spending significantly more time at home than ever before, our collective notion of a ‘home away from home’ needed to be redefined to fit our newly limited range for travel.’ 

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