A Tiny Glass Cabin Perches for Wilderness Views in Remote Finland

A multidimensional glass-and-steel retreat in Finnish Lapland is designed to bring its owner as close to nature as possible.

In Inari, Finland, a geometric glass cabin acts like a prism, refracting light to create a spatial experience unlike any other. "The main source of light is from outside," says one of the project’s lead architects, Lauri Salo of Finnish firm Pirinen Salo Oy. "That might be sunshine, the night sky, or anything in between."

Smart Lucia, a 260-square-foot prototype designed for glass contractor Savon Lasituote Oy, uses thermal glass tested at temperatures down to -31 degrees Fahrenheit to withstand Finland’s harsh winters (glass and floor heating also conspire to keep things cozy inside).

By integrating interior lighting into the module’s steel structure, Salo was able to leave the surfaces of the glass unmarred. The lighting also adds layers of refracted light, enhancing the structure’s prismatic effect. Uniform materials and colors inside help it blend with the surrounds.

Sabon’s cabin is oriented to capture the best views, which are enhanced by a sloping gable roof that faces out over the water. "The main viewpoint is when you’re laying in bed with you head on the pillow," explains Salo. "To this this point, the glass surfaces are situated at a perfect angle and the steel structures are shaped in a way that they appear as slim as possible."

With a foundation in place, the module, designed as an accommodation or a workspace, can be delivered to a site ready to install. For those looking to maintain a sense of privacy, darkened or mirrored glass surfaces are available as an option.

It’s also possible to customize prints onto the glass itself, says Salo, as well as to add curtains that line the lower half to help cocoon inhabitants, if they so desire.

One thing paramount to Smart Lucia’s design, says Salo, was to deliver a "big experience" to the user while keeping the structure as small as possible, so as not to dominate the surrounding landscapes that Finns hold so dear. "It was designed to be a hideout," he says. "Nature is always a great inspiration to us."