Mirrored cabin lets visitors get up close and personal with nature
Though its mirrored exterior doesn't quite make it disappear into the landscape, the SynVillan (or Illusion Villa) is certainly a striking addition to Sweden's Eriksberg Hotel and Nature Reserve. The cabin runs off-the-grid with solar power and lets visitors get up close and personal with European Red Bison, deer, and other wildlife thanks to a glass-bottomed living room.
The SynVillan is raised above the ground on steel stilts and measures 50 sq m (538 sq ft), not including its 15 sq m (50 sq ft) terrace area. Its overall form is modeled on a traditional Swedish home and features stainless steel walls and a straw roof area.
Access is gained by a wooden staircase and the interior features two bedrooms – one with a double bed and another with bunk beds – a kitchenette, and a living room with seating and a monocular telescope set up by the window. The glass floor area in the living room is a particularly nice touch, allowing visitors to gaze down at the local wildlife.
Since it's located out in the middle of nowhere, a grid-based connection was obviously not possible, so the SynVillan gets all power from solar panels. A wood-burning stove provides warmth, the oven runs on propane gas, and the bathroom features an incinerating toilet (there's no running water available, though a jacuzzi and other amenities are nearby).
"Eriksberg's beautiful nature park now offers the opportunity for a nature- and architectural experience that lets the visitor get really close to the animals," says architect Thomas Sandell, of the firm Sandellsandberg. "We have designed a house which in shape stems from the traditional Swedish house. The roof is made of straw, but the walls are covered with a polished patterned steel plate, whose reflective properties are aimed to make the illusion of a dissolved house, which disappears into nature. It levitates above the ground and seemingly hovers over a feeding place where the animals come to eat. We get to follow that scene just a few meters from the animals through a glass slab in the floor."
If you'd like to stay in the lodge yourself, prices start at 3,990 SEK (roughly US$460) for 2 people, per night.