Prefabricated cabins that let you go off-grid in style and comfort
by Alvin Lim /
May 19, 2020
A holiday home away from home doesn’t necessarily mean that maximum pleasures a la terraces, jacuzzis and home cinemas. Holiday travellers have come to redefine a getaway in terms of wellness – think a quiet journey of rediscovery, over jet skis and boozing galore. That’s where cabins come in, now more accessible than ever thanks to companies that specialise in prefabricated abodes.
These cabins don’t necessarily have to be holiday homes though – they work perfectly fine as cosy home offices tucked away from the family. After this extended work-from-home period, most of us have come to determine whether veiled threats at the lunch table and a locked door are enough to get some peace and quiet during working hours (read: they aren’t).
Granted, the get-away-from-it-all effectiveness of these cabins depends heavily on you. Most of these are designed with sustainability and low maintenance living in mind: though if you’re carting in a 146 inch ultra-high definition 4K screen and home sound system, that’s okay too.
Take Zerocabin for instance. Unlike others in the list, Zerocabin isn’t looking to make a statement about prefabricated architecture (though it arguably still is) – instead, they’ve pioneered 100 per cent off-grid living solutions.
Styled as a tree-house that works like a tree, every Zerocabin is designed for self-sufficiency in terms of water, electricity and sewage. Its systems are intuitive and come with a maintenance manual for true autarkic bliss. It goes without saying that Zerocabins are made out of sustainable materials, and installation will be done in a minimally-impactful manner. All said, it doesn’t mean your house will look like a box with a solar panel slapped on top – the company’s turnkey service is to design your dream abode with a focus on keeping it self-sufficient and most importantly, perpetually liveable.
These are the other prefabricated cabins that best encapsulate luxuriant comfort, rustic beauty and pure sustainability – a perfect addition to a remote holiday home or as an annex for work-from-home privacy.
Norwegian company Livit seeks to make sustainable, minimal and comfortable cabins. Trust the Scandinavians to wellness that’s a departure from the norm – Livit eschews your typical timber-dominant cabin for a sleeker, svelte and glass-heavy Birdbox that boasts an inimitable view best suited to take in, what else, the expansive natural beauty of the country. Designed by cofounder of Livit Torstein Aa, the Birdbox can be air-lifted into place and mounted with minimal footprint. Its reversible footprint is bolstered by an option for solar panels for off-grid power, making it a truly sustainable piece of beauty. The Birdbox doesn’t come with a kitchenette or balcony, and there’s scarcely space for much else a pair of armchairs, bed and bathroom – but it’s all you’ll ever need. Perfect for a distraction-free, boozy weekend with a great view and better company.
Co-founders Wilson Edgar and Michael Leckie combined their respective skillsets to create modernist, practical spaces designed for comfortable living. Edgar’s deep appreciation of the outdoors and backcountry, minimal impact living, together with Leckie’s award-winning contemporary architecture, has resulted in Backcountry Hut Company. Expect quality timber finishing, panoramic floor-to-ceiling glass and a simple, unadulterated living area meant for an escape to the countryside. They currently offer three different cabin designs, ranging from 3 metre by 3 metre a-frame compact hut with loft space to a spacious two-storey cabin designed for family-use. The smallest design can be built within a week once materials have arrived, thanks to the flat-packed, prefabricated nature of the cabin.
Singapore and Bali-based Stilt Studios was born out of a collaboration between entrepreneur Florian Holm and architect Alexis Dornier when the former hired the designer to plan his residence in Canggu. They seek to dispel the idea that prefabricated projects mean drab or uninspired architecture. Instead, these homes can adhere to the highest standards of architectural design while being efficient and great quality. Specifically, Stilt Studios creates cabins that are suspended above the ground to minimise the environmental damage to the area – a vital enterprise, as many of their projects are in Bali and Indonesia. While they’re currently designed with a steel framework, they are developing a model that uses the more sustainable cross-laminated timber. Your very own stilt studio can either be designed as single-level or multi-level, though all come with standard creature comforts and a minimalist aesthetic. They can also be built on relatively difficult terrain, maintaining every facet of comfort and design while reducing the project’s footprint. The view is pretty great too.
Designed with providing the new urban nomad a place to stay in mind, German-based Cabin Spacey’s abodes can make use of any unused space – including roofs. Its modular design lets you customise your living space, well, depending on the size of your roof. Of course, they’re suitable for use on flat ground as well – with key design elements including cosiness, utility and sustainability for the urban future. Cabin Spacey also allows you to customise the appliances and spaces you’d like to have in your cabin. Flexible living spaces might just be the future solution to overpopulation, but for now, we’d recommend Cabin Spacey’s installations for a home office that’s perfect for any work-from-home situation where a little light and minimal design can do wonders for productivity.