Norway’s “Holiday Cabins”

In my post about the Jesolo Lido Pool Villa, I introduced a concept that I called the “instalife”-style, and while the response to the post itself was positive, I received many comments about what this style really was. Today’s post will hopefully further that explanation using a beautiful little project on the coast of Norway’s Manshausen Island.

So, what really is the “instalife”-style? There is a growing drive among young people and social media users to pursue a life full of adventure, travel, immersion in foreign culture, and diversification that strays slightly from what some might call the “traditional” trajectory of life. That is, to finish school, attain a degree, and get a job.

Photo by Quinlan Hooker, on a trip with his friends through the mountains of Norway
Processed with VSCO with e2 preset
Photo by Rob Norton
Rob Norton’s instagram page, follows a clear aesthetic which I see fitting into the “instalife”-style

With this new life style trend, comes an aesthetic that many people strive to attain, whether in their fashion sense, their social media feeds, their design sense, etc. It is an aesthetic that follows a modern, simplistic, sleek style without “clutter”. The Jesolo Villa is an example of that.

Today’s featured project is one that was driven by the desire to provide a place to stay for adventurers passing through Norway. HC3


A small project, the Holiday Cabins designed by Norwegian Architect Snorre Stinessen capture the essence of the young ambitious traveler/explorer – the perfect destination for “instalife”-style seekers. This is where as a young architect things start to get exciting. The aesthetic of the cabins is clean and simple, but within that, come design moves that create the atmosphere the project tries to achieve.


The photographer of this image is unknown

Among the main design features of the project, is the desire for large captivating views of the breathtaking scenery. Each cabin has moments where the guest can immerse themselves in nature and achieve happiness by seemingly removing themselves from the materialistic world we live in. The four cabins are positioned in ways that maximize these views, while maintaining privacy for all the guests. HC5

As seen in the plan, the bedroom is implied by the thicker wooden frame wall that extends just beyond the bed into the all glass living room, placing the guest in nature even in their sleep.

Projects like this show not only fantastic conceptualization of space, but also place Architecture as a field in social context. They show that architecture can be a result of social change, or can be a factor in social change. They show the true beauty of the field and just how malleable design can be.


All images of the project are by: Siggen Stinessen

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Maissa Hamed says:

    Very beautiful projects you pick to analyze architecturally and that exemplify somewhat your own sense of style. I can’t wait to see your own designs actually built.


  2. Mohamed Elwakil says:

    In the past century two famous and opposing quotes by 20th century architects Mies van der Rohe and Robert Venturi, respectively “Les is more” and “Less is is a bore” seem to be at play here and finally find their harmonious duality.
    Where as you mention that the cabin design aesthetic is ” clean and simple”; the interior layout of the sleeping and living room is also sleek and calming thus befitting Mies’s and his God Father Peter Behren’s “less is more” dictum. On the other hand the breath taking views of the surrounding nature, the water, the rugged stone mountains, the skies above (intended for the instalife-style experience) where one leaves the clutter, materialism and noise of the traditional live style to become one with Narture with its adventure and exploration potential seems to take the “bore” out of the less in a bore of Robert Ventuiri’s maxim. Finally two oppsing but very popular archiectural views seem to reconcile their differences in S. Stinssen’s Hoilday Cabin.
    Good posting. Instalife -style has a lot of potential and young architects should be exporing this concept further!


  3. Tota Hunter says:

    When I hear insta-lifestyle, my first impression is not necessarily an actual life style but rather a very specific image or aesthetic that the user carefully chooses to portray. I think one aspect that I would like to acknowledge is that the people who are portraying this type of life style are in the minority, meaning that one person is influencing thousands. There is big pressure that comes with viewership like that where the user is expected to have the same quality output. This could result in some sort of deception of what might not actually be there or what it’s like in real life (…fyre festival?). I agree that this destination would be a great insta-lifestyle destination for its aesthetic value but the project was commissioned by a Norwegian polar explorer with the intentions of accommodating people that come to hike, fish, and in general explore the beautiful nature scene. When you say “architecture can be a result of social change, or can be a factor in social change,” I believe it is a very powerful statement but in this case does not fully relate to the insta-lifestyle that is being discussed, at least with these Holiday Cabins.


    1. zmelwakil says:

      Hi Tota, thanks for your comment.

      I think you raise a very interesting point about what we as a generation use as the image of a perfect life. I think that question brings a lot more than just Architecture to the table. It has to do with how social media has affected us as a society. But, having said that, what does that mean for Architecture? Has the taste for good design been completely “filtered” by a false reality that social media has placed on us?

      As for your last point. The cabins while not commissioned for “Instalife”-style seekers specifically, caters to the needs of people who would be seeking such a lifestyle. I am trying to explore what it is about that aesthetic that appeals to such people, and I think social media has definitely played a huge role in that.


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