The “Cone Cows” of the Arctic Treehouse Hotel race gently via the Finnish panorama
Manufactured by Swedish and Finnish children, “cone cows” consist of a pine cone “body” and four floors “legs”. They are so popular that they found their way onto Swedish postage stamps – and were more recently the inspiration for the Arctic Treehouse Hotel by the Helsinki-based studio Puisto when they were looking for a way to build sensibly in the Arctic Circle.
The 32 tree-like sleeves arranged in pairs consist of wood and are clad with overlapping wooden shingles. They mimic the scaly exterior of a pine cone and provide the much-needed insulation. “They are walking downhill and are curious about the landscape and the northern lights,” said the architects.
In order to keep the impact on the fragile environment as low as possible, every building was built completely outside the site. Only the glazing and the connection to the surfaces were carried out on site. They stand on leg-like legs and have planted roofs to replace the landscape below. “The ecological footprint of the materials and technical solutions used had an important influence in every step of the planning and construction process,” said the architects.
But it’s not just the outer structure that has been carefully considered. “The contrast between wild nature and a safe, warm, nest-like space was a key element in the overall design,” explain the architects.
From a dark, atmospheric entrance hall you enter a light-flooded bedroom, which is designed to make optimal use of the light – and this view. The wall facing the landscape (and if you’re lucky the northern lights) is fully glazed and each pod has been carefully positioned to give the best possible view of the landscape. Outdoor lighting is kept low to allow for a true wilderness experience and minimize light pollution for the best view of the Aurora Borealis. Just enough carefully selected trees are illuminated to help you find your way around.
There are spacious double beds for couples, but the entire treehouse experience is reserved for children and single sleepers – individual nest-like corners are accessible via a ladder from the hallway.
The rooms are furnished with the best Scandinavian design, from classics like the Butterfly Lounge Chairs model AA by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy (below) to emerging stars like the Cloche Lamp by Lars Beller Fjetland (above).
Adjacent pods have mini-kitchens and refrigerators, and the hotel even offers room service through WhatsApp. So once you’re there, you really don’t have to go anymore.
If you choose to brave the snow, you’ll be rewarded with a five-pointed, snowflake-inspired community building that includes a restaurant, a lobby with an impressive steel fireplace, a lounge, and cloakrooms.
The restaurant’s menu features regional and seasonal ingredients as well as traditional Lappish delicacies such as reindeer meat, fresh sea fish, wild mushrooms and berries, all of which have been revised with a modern twist.
The pine cone inspiration continues in the pendant lights above you, while another fully glazed wall ensures that you never lose touch with the Arctic landscape.
What: Arctic Treehouse Hotel
Where: Tarvantie 3, 96930 Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi, Finland
How much: From $ 418 per night including breakfast
Special features: Nest-like corners that are accessible to children via a ladder.
Design Draw: Eco-sensitive architecture by Studio Puisto with a cozy interior full of Scandi classics.