The moment you open the door to the lodge, the eye is drawn to the enormous panoramic window looking out towards the Lysefjord – like a landscape taken straight out of a painting. The high ceilings blur the boundaries between the lodge and the sky and with only air below, the cabin and its guests are literally hovering high above the fjord. The view from The Bolder Starlodge is picture perfect and the bolder just got even bolder.
The first two lodges, called The Bolder Skylodge, have been a massive success. What developed from the slightly wild brainchild of printer and founder Tom B. Norland soon became known as one of the most remarkable places to stay in Norway. The meeting between unique architecture and nature was the starting point for further developing the project of The Bolder.
“The new Starlodges build on the experience we gained from the first two lodges we built,” said Norland. “They are 40 per cent larger, have an even higher standard, and are more at one with nature in terms of their location and the choice of materials.”
The eye for detail, quality and nature is what inspired the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta to take on The Bolder project. Creativity, and a shared interest in and respect for the nature, meant the collaboration quickly came to fruition.
‘It’s not often we get to work on projects on such a small scale as this one, but it’s been a very important and exciting project for us,” said Frank Denis Foray, Project Manager at Snøhetta for The Bolder Starlodge. “It’s been challenging, but in a positive way. We normally try to find clients who have a vision and leave room for the creative process. What excited us about this project was the commitment to quality, luxury, and the desire to create something in harmony with nature.”
The cabins work with rather than against nature, leaving almost no footprint. The architects at Snøhetta rented a motorhome for several days in order to really get a sense of the place and devise a project that respects the landscape and shows consideration for mother nature.
‘We saw a unique possibility with the network of paths and the landscape and wanted to make the smallest possible footprint in what we did and we had to remain mindful of this throughout the process,” continued Foray. “The idea was to convey a sense of buildings standing free in the nature and for guests to feel alone in nature. At the same time, we wanted to use elements from the landscape in the design and let the mountain blend into the foundations and the rough style of the timber.”
The foundation on which the cabins ‘float’ uses rock from the granite mountain on which it rests. The timber is from the same type of trees that surround the lodges, and the choice of interior materials creates a sense of being sheltered, that shows respect for the landscape in which the lodges are situated. The lodges are lofty and the light creates a unique sense of space.
The details of the furniture and the interior of The Bolder Starlodge is equally something out of the ordinary, with meticulous quality in every last detail. Everything has been carefully considered, from the choice of kitchen knives to the type of wood used for the furniture. The interior has been mindfully curated with brands that include Vipp, Expo Nova and Eikund. When you sit in the chair on the first floor and rest your legs on the small pouffe, you feel like you never want to get up again. The unique comfort combined with the atmosphere in the room is designed to let your mind wander.
“The intention behind the lodges is to allow guests to also enjoy the beautiful nature around the lodges, ” said Foray. “What’s important is that the experience lasts for twenty-four hours, that it’s a place where you can enjoy high standards while living in and with nature. That’s the feeling we were going for and which I hope we’ve achieved.”
When the founder and designers at Snøhetta describe the lodges as being ‘in harmony with nature’, it doesn’t just mean that the buildings have a unique connection to the landscape, that the choice of materials is well considered, or that the buildings leave a minimal footprint in the landscape. Staying a night or two in the small lodges promises a rare experience of nature, and the opportunity to experience Norwegian fjord landscapes in a whole new way.
Main image credit: The Bolder