On, a Swiss running shoe company that has started to grab plenty of attention (and market share) in trailrunning-friendly towns in the US, is releasing a new hiking boot. The founders were so stoked about the new boot, they built a small two-person hut at 8,200 feet in elevation, on the slopes of Piz Lunghin, a mountain high in the Swiss Alps referred to as the “Roof of Europe” because it serves as the headwaters for three important watersheds: the Danube, Rhine, and Po rivers. This is where Olivier Bernhard, Caspar Coppetti, and David Allemann dreamt up the company.
The hut was designed by Thilo Alex Brunner, On’s art director. To reach it, one must hike. It exists as a refuge, not merely physically, but emotionally and psychically too. A place to rest during a hike, or to seek out as a destination in itself. It was designed, built, and furnished with utmost simplicity in mind. There is sparse, solar-powered lighting and a wood-burning stove. Drinking water is collected from rain captured on the roof. Light plywood makes up the walls and tidy furnishings.
Outside, the hut is clad with reflective materials, a small mirror showing off the small valley and lakeside views that surround the hut. This too is part of its minimalist ethos. The idea is that the hut is almost camouflaged by that mirror-like exterior, reflecting back a vision of the natural environment surrounding it.
“Part of the ‘Back to the Source’ idea is to demonstrate just how few things are needed to have, hopefully, the stay of a lifetime,” Brunner says. “It’s an exercise in “Reduction as the ultimate luxury.”
Photos: On / Anne Lutz and Thomas Stöckli
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.