Weekend Cabin: Chameleon Cabin, Gothenburg, Sweden

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The spark of inspiration for cabins come from all sorts of places, but this one was certainly unique. A printer in Gothenburg, Sweden, wanted to show off its capabilities, so it commissioned White Arkitekter and branding agency Happy F + B to design a small structure. Note that again: a printer. Of paper.

The Chameleon Cabin is constructed of a corrugated, two millimeter thick paper called MiniWell, also produced by a Swedish company. It was layered into 95 separate modules, then assembled using slots and tabs. The whole thing weighs just 220 pounds.

“The proportions of the building,” said White, “are based on the Swedish friggebod, a small shed that can be erected without planning permission.”

Of course, the most dramatic feature of the cabin is how the designers alternated color panels so that it looks different from every angle — sometimes marbled black, sometimes marbled white, sometimes zebra’d. In this execution, this little parlor trick is all about making you look, which is fine. But it’s also easy to image a fully functional, livable cabin perched between water and woods in which the alternating colors are blue and green (or brown). From the side it’s polychrome, but seen at an angle is disappears into the trees or water. How cool would that be?

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Photos by Rasmus Norlander


Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.


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