Helsinki-based designer Robin Falck lives for constantly learning and mastering new skills and making good use of them in his design work. With a passion for items that last, the multi-talented designer tries to make his own designs as timeless and sustainable as possible. For his latest project, the Nolla cabin, Falck found inspiration in the idea of bringing people closer to nature with a minimal environmental impact.
What got you interested in this project?
It was clear from the very beginning that this was a special project. With a client like Neste, I knew right away that it would be possible to find the best solutions for minimizing the cabin’s footprint, without too many compromises.
The Nolla cabin has been designed for living in nature’s realm. What else could it be used for? Are there any global or local issues it could help solve?
The cabin could be used as an urban lodge for sustainable festival or event accommodation. It could also function as a lodge along trekking routes, where leaving minimal treces in the environment is just as crucial as in Vallisaari.
Nolla is easy to construct, dissemble and transport, because moving and constructing it can be accomplished by a few people, no heavy machinery is needed. The “paws” enable it to be erected in any terrain without permanent groundwork, so it can be used for low-impact living in delicate surroundings, as we have done in Vallisaari.
There are other transportable living options, of course, but I personally prefer wooden structures in comparison to, for example, dwellings built out of shipping containers. Wood is a breathable, natural material that can be modified and easily recycled. There’s something special to living in a wooden house – or indeed, a cabin.
What should be done to a Nolla cabin if it ever reaches the end of its life cycle?
The cabin structures have been fastened together with screws, so it can be taken apart and put back together like a puzzle. The pedestals are adjustable, so that the cabin can adapt to different kinds of terrain. In essence, there are no special parts used in building it – a replica of any part can be made from scratch by anyone, all they need is timber.
The culture of repairing things is disappearing, and we’re quick to buy a replacement rather than fix what we already have – but that’s not a very sustainable way of living. I find modern-day helplessness and the inability to make things with our own hands slightly scary, so I wanted to make the cabin easily repairable and thus give it an infinite number of life cycles.