The Bergaliv Loft House, Sweden

The first of four stilted cabins set high up in Sweden’s Åsberget mountains is a vision of pure simplicity, tranquillity and reconnection. Designed by Stockholm-based architect Hanna Michelson, each timber Lofthuset (loft house) will overlook the former ski slope to create the Bergaliv (meaning mountain life) Landscape Hotel.  This is a retreat with the sole purpose of providing individuals and couples with an idyllic sanctuary, not to mention a peaceful place for plenty of contemplation.

From four powerful timber beams set deep into the hillside rises a humble cabin getaway. Looming 33ft over its surrounding landscape, the cabin is set across two 14sqm floors, each of which offers its guests two different experiences with the surrounding nature.

ARCHITECT & PHOTOGRAPHY Hanna Michelson

A simply elevated pinewood walkway slopes up to connect the cabin frame which is divided into two main parts. The sheltered lower floor is located at treetop height to expose the dense pine tree crowns. The bare platform above is stripped of all walls, panels and insulation to reveal uninterrupted views over the treetops to the valleys and forests as far as the eye can see, where it eventually meets the Ljusnan waterways below. Both spaces are perfectly positioned for relaxation and reflection.

“The dualism of the site, with its closeness to nature combined with the expansive view has set the rules for the small house,”

– Architect Hanna Michelson

The lower interior floor occupies an open-plan living and sleeping space and is as compact and smart as it gets. To compliment the clever use of interior layout, reconfigurable furniture to suit different activities has been installed. This equals bedding for two that can be hung on the wall hooks when not in use, L-shaped windowsill benches made of birch that double as dining seating, and a Konstantin Grcic portable May Day lamp for Flos that can be repositioned around the room. Combined, they make for one highly functional space. On one side of the room, a wall of cabinets creates modest storage in which a single small tap and bowl-shaped sink have been installed on a bench top. Functionality meets enforced minimalism – the perfect combination for a forest retreat.

Almost to the point of being utilitarian in design, there are obvious elements of Japanese composition that have clearly influenced the concept. From the simple futon bedding with leather straps and wall hooks to the beautiful hand spun ceramic bowls and cups. Quite frankly, there is nothing in this cabin that doesn’t serve a (multi) purpose.

The lodge has been stripped back to allow mother earth a much-deserved centre stage spot. Organically treated raw materials such as heart pine, spruce, birch plywood and ash have been used to echo the terrain while forging a clean and contemporary aesthetic.

If you’re looking for zen then you’ve come to the right place. We think Michelson’s considered approach has created a unique dialectic with the Swedish landscape. The Bergaliv Loft House is a harmonious example of austere modernism at one with its surroundings.

Megan Rawson

Megan has built her career in the interiors media industry. Prior to joining the Est team, Megan spent the last few years working both internationally and locally with interior design studios, most notably Tom Dixon and Mim Design. Follow her visual journey here:

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