Scandinavian Hermit Design

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“We are social creatures by nature. However, the possibility to retreat from the world for a while, to be hermits in nature for a limited period of time is an experience that many of us are increasingly willing to put our money down for. In Scandinavia this urge to retreat to nature in solitude is a dream inherent in culture.

The Need for Mental Space

A hermit is by definition a person who lives in solitude. A hermitage is a place for reflection. To live on your own or at least with few people and few things near to nature for a time is a means of creating the mental space that we need to grow as people. Modern life lacks space in that regard. Rather it is crowded with constant interaction with the world, a sea of people and queues, and a consumer jungle so lush with goods that the light can barely enter. The opportunities for reflection in this setting are few.
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A Scandinavian Tradition

Leading Scandinavian designers have picked up on this modern need and during the past ten to fifteen years begun to design huts which pick up on an old Scandinavian tradition and renew it. Having a simple nature-near place to get away to – often without running water or electric heating – is the lead theme behind the tradition of sport huts (sportstugor), summer houses and Norwegian mountain huts orhytte. Each of these traditions emerged in Scandinavia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the advent of industrialized society and urbanization (which also gave rise to higher living standards for many) drove people to feel that they needed to create opportunities for returning to nature.

Hermitages in Contemporary Scandinavian Design
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Designers who more recently have taken a stab at the hermitage trend include Mats Theselius (who also wrote a DIY book about how to build a hermit’s hut and live a hermit’s life), Mats Hellström and Thomas Sandell. Theselius’ hermit huts, produced by furniture and design company Arvesund, have by now been shipped all over the world. The main characteristics of these designs have been paring down, using small spaces in an intelligent way, and connecting inside spaces to the outdoors.

A striking example of the hermitage trend is provided by Urnatur in Ödeshög, Sweden in which a couple created hermit huts out of the fallen trees in hurricane Gudrun which ripped through southern Sweden’s forests in 2005.”
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see also ,

for Arvesund, see
scandinavian hermit mats
“In 1999 Swedish designer Mats began the collaboration with Arvesund to design the Hermit’s Cabin. It was first exhibited in Cologne in the spring of 2000, and has since been featured in a number of fairs and exhibitions around the world. The cabin is built mostly with old barn reclaimed timber on the inside and outside, and custom made based on what the buyer wants. It’s suitable for winter use with organic insulation in the floors, walls, and roof, and galvanized metal sheets for the roof, window sills and gutters.

More specs:
• Living space: 8 m2 Ca. measurements (w x l x h) 2,6 x 3 x 3 m
• Weight: ca 1500 kg
• Furnishing: beds, chairs, table, wardrobe and shelf.
• Heating: wood-stove with water heater, floor plate and chimney.
• Textiles: linen curtains, pillow cases of linen/wool, bedspread of wool, and a washable lambskin.

Mats continues: “I want to show the possibility to escape from the urban life for a while. The cabin challenges the discussions about the individual contra the society and human needs for solitude. For that reason we have filled the cabin with the few things you need. Here you can eat, sleep, read or just do nothing at all.””

for Mats Theselius, see and


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