Space of Mind is a minimalist and modular cabin developed as a response to the pandemic travel restrictions and the new era of local travel. The compact, prefabricated cabin resulted from a collaboration between three Finnish companies: Studio Puisto, Protos Demos and Made by Choice.
GOING ON A HOLIDAY, near or far, is always a special experience and a spatial separation from daily life and routines. Among all other things, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected our opportunities of traveling and, at the same time, forced architects and designers to create holiday homes from a completely new basis.
As a response to the pandemic, Helsinki-based architectural office Studio Puisto decided to redefine the spaces and experiences of traveling. The essential question was, how to combine the ritual of leaving home with the limited spatial range caused by the pandemic.
The result was Space of Mind: a tiny, prefabricated modular cabin that could be placed to your own backyard, rooftop terrace, or even the most remote destinations.
“When designing Space of Mind as a spatial solution to that question, we were inspired to make a minimal, yet functional, space with just the essentials. With less, it gives us the opportunity to better focus on what matters most. Similarly, we knew that what matters most to each of us is different for everyone – therefore, we also wanted to make sure that Space of Mind could be flexibly tailored and adapted to every individual,” says Studio Puisto’s partner, architect Willem van Bolderen from the Space of Mind designer team.
Designed in terms of environment and mobility
As its name implicates, Space of Mind was designed to be a place that could provide time and space for being, thinking and unwinding. The tiny, 9-square-meter cabin can serve, for example, as a bedroom, workspace, gym, or yoga studio. The structure, cladding and interiors were designed in terms of mobility and with an emphasis on natural materials.
“We chose materials for the structure of Space of Mind to be compact and light enough so that it can be transported via truck or helicopter to any location, no matter how remote. Both the structure and interior of Space of Mind are made of massive timber and we thought to leave it exposed inside so that the warm wooden tones would give it a nest-like quality,” van Bolderen explains.
Space of Mind is available in three different cladding options: galvanized steel with a standing seam, tar felt, or larch boards.
The pilot is made out of larch, which will turn grey over time to become part of the granite rock it stands on. Places with harsher exterior conditions can choose the galvanized steel to better safeguard against the weather, while those who wish for an all-black exterior can choose the tar felt. The idea was that each Space of Mind could be adapted to the location in a way that allows it to best blend into its natural surroundings.
The idea was that each Space of Mind could be adapted to the location in a way that allows it to best blend into its natural surroundings.
“Space of Mind is designed to withstand weather year-round – even the harshest of Nordic winter conditions. However, we wanted to keep the experience as natural and unaltered as possible so there is no added insulation in the structure. But there is an option to add floor heating if desired to make it more comfortable during the off-season.”
Adaptable design, stimulating materials
All Space of Mind cabins are manufactured by Protos Demos in Salo, Finland, and the interiors are made by the local furniture company Made by Choice. The cabin is built completely ready in the factory, including the interior, and only then moved to its final location. This limits the impact to the site and its natural surroundings while similarly ensuring a top-quality finish.
Inside the sleek cabin and its sloping roof is a wood-clad room with a window wall and customizable furniture. Mobility and modularity were the key factors when designing the interior for the cabin.
“All of the available furniture, such as beds, shelves, desk and gym equipment, is designed specifically for Space of Mind and can seamlessly integrate into this modular system.”
“As for the interior, it is thoughtfully designed like it was a piece of furniture itself through a modular system that is connected to the structure of the cabin. The interior is adaptable and can become, for example, a rest-space or a focus-space or a wellness-space by simply sliding in the wooden pegs of the furniture elements into slots and locking them into place. The carpet is done in collaboration with VM-Carpet and made from wool while the bed is done in collaboration with Matri and made of natural rubber and linen fabrics. All of these materials are natural, yet tactile, to create a stimulating environment that activates all the senses.
All of the available furniture, such as beds, shelves, desk and gym equipment, is designed specifically for Space of Mind and can seamlessly integrate into this modular system. You’re free to choose what furniture best suits your need and even switch it out over time – it essentially can be whatever you dream it up to be,” van Bolderen sums up.
Text: Nora Uotila Images: Studio Puisto