I was struck by this magnificent Norwegian cabin resort during my research into the country’s wilderness. The Manshausen Island Resort lies in the Steigen archipelago, above the Arctic Circle in Norway. Developed by polar explorer Børge Ousland, his vision was a sustainable adventure exploration resort that is fully immersed in the coast’s rugged environment. It is beautifully positioned between the Barents Sea and the famous Lofoten mountain range to the north. The cabins look out over the remote location’s ever changing weather, flora, fauna and structure.
An Exploration of Home
Personally I crave wild smells, sights and experiences like I crave food and water. I’m well aware how my body and mind soften when I’m in it. And how they stiffen when I’m not.
So this summer, we’re hooking up our vintage caravan, bundling in kids and cats, and taking a road trip adventure through Sweden and Norway. Having left my native Sweden for the UK when I was just five years old, I can’t wait to explore the country I still call home. I’ve travelled and lived all over the globe, but never close to home. Having never been to Norway, this is a trip of a lifetime for me and my family. And perhaps one that sets off a chain reaction of further adventures.
I hope our travels can take us as far north as the Lofoten mountains and a stopover at a Norwegian cabin in the Manshausen Island Resort.
Seeking Adventure and Protection
The resort is situated in a dramatic landscape with fast changing weather conditions and long winters. It’s recognised that humans – whilst seeking adventure, beauty and nourishment – also seek comfort, shelter and security from the wilderness outside. These impressive cantilevered structures are built like a cave. This design exposes us to the breathtaking view, whilst also protecting us from it. The front of the cabin exposes us to nature head on to witness the dramatic environmental changes. The rear offers protection, with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom for 2-4 people. There’s also plenty of storage for clothes and kit.
From the security of this fabulous Norwegian cabin, you can kayak, hike, fish, dive, cave, ski and more. Northern Norway is also a great place to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Check the activities on the Mansousen Resort website.
A Norwegian Cabin where Sustainability is Key
Explorer and resort developer Børge Ousland is guided by nature and sustainability. Architect Snorre Stinessen skilfully executed Ousland’s vision, understanding the priorities, considerations and restraints of this delicate environment. In the harsh climate for example, trees and moss grow at a much slower pace so must be treated with utmost respect.
The resort is built on some key fundamental principles:
- creating minimum impact
- using minimal size and materials
- re-use where possible
- adopt traditional and natural principles
- careful waste management
- low energy
Windows are carefully positioned considering viewpoints, ventilation and the geometry of the space. Natural ventilation and heat retention systems ensure that the 30sqm cabins remain at a comfortable temperature.
All waste is handled directly on the island. Whilst the cabins are currently connected to the public power grid, the aim is to be self-sustainable within 5 years of opening.
Food is sourced from small bakeries and local fishermen on the island. Ousland also dives for larger fish. And never for more than is needed.
Manshausen was once of importance in the fishing industry. The stone quay lays largely untouched as part of the foundation for this Norwegian cabin resort. This sustainable vision thus creates an interesting intersection between old and new, nature and man.
Photography: Steve King and Siggen Stinessen
Biophilic Design: We Need Nature to Feel Good
I’d love to tell you more about Biophilic Design, and how it impacts our wellbeing, productivity and creativity. I’ve written about our innate need for shelter and nature as part of Biophilic Design practices on this page. You can also see it applied in our own home in this post. I hope you find it useful and interesting!
If you like this natural approach to living, adventure and interior design, do sign up for updates via my blog and shop newsletter. I’d also love to see you on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter). You may also love this Norwegian cabin from our Scandinavian road trip. There were so many magical spots along the way, and I always kept close my favourite campsite foodie companion book; Food the Fire
Do have a browse through my nature connected design shop while you’re here!