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Taking Shelter

by Suzanne Miao on Jun 30, 2015 in Architecture
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The geometry accentuates the sensation of nature’s proximity from each angle in the shelter, blurring the distinction of indoor/outdoor space

The geometry accentuates the sensation of nature’s proximity from each angle in the shelter, blurring the distinction of indoor/outdoor space

Vipp, well known for its classic accessories, has designed a shelter unlike any we have ever seen before. In the hands of the Danish design expert, this is a modern escape, powerful in its simplicity yet packed with exquisitely-conceived details

In Skåne, located in the south of Sweden, about two hours from Copenhagen by car, a 55 sq-m steel object emerges in a rugged landscape framed by naked trees and a silent lake mirrored in the skyframe window façade. This is the Vipp shelter, as solid as a rock in sharp contrast to its surroundings. Yet, with its steel frame embracing large glass surfaces (skyframes), the rock is also transparent, transforming into a shell projecting the landscape into the interior. The landscape is deliberately framed, the predominant element of the interior space.

A shelter in its original sense has connotations of basic living, serving a merely functional purpose and attending to our primal need of having a roof over our heads. The starting point of the Vipp shelter goes back to basics: back to nature with basic functions defining a dense, compact space, yet wrapped in the Vipp DNA with a clear aesthetic coherence and use of solid materials.

At its location in Skåne, in the south of Sweden, the Vipp shelter affords spectacular views of the surrounding countryside

At its location in Skåne, in the south of Sweden, the Vipp shelter affords spectacular views of the surrounding countryside

"The objective was not to make a house or a mobile home," explains Vipp chief designer Morten Bo Jensen. "Vipp is rooted in the manufacture of industrial objects, so the term 'shelter' is a typology that allows us to define this hybrid as a spacious, functionally generic, livable object."

According to Jensen, the biggest difference between this getaway compared to anything else on the market is the fact that he is not an architect. The shelter is conceived more like a product than a piece of architecture that melds seamlessly with its surrounding. "We didn't start with a piece of land on which we customised a house taking into consideration the natural surroundings," he says.

The Japanese Zen-style monochrome colour palette is prevented from becoming oppressive thanks to huge windows which allow natural light to flood in to the compact space

The Japanese Zen-style monochrome colour palette is prevented from becoming oppressive thanks to huge windows which allow natural light to flood in to the compact space

"There is plenty of amazing architecture out there, but we wanted to conceive something different — an escape in the form of an object designed down to last detail, where the only choice left to the customer is where to put it."

This approach — downscaling a house or a pavilion to a product — has given birth to the Vipp shelter, and what Vipp encourages us to do with this modern escape is to live within the frame of a product. As to where the inspiration comes from, Jensen says: "Large volume objects like a plane or a ferry are a clear reference in the design. Like these products, the shelter is a voluminous, transportable, complex design construction."

Prefabrication was an essential criterion in the construction, meaning that the installation process could take place within a couple of days without an elongated process on a construction site

Prefabrication was an essential criterion in the construction, meaning that the installation process could take place within a couple of days
without an elongated process on a construction site

This is a preview of the "Taking Shelter” article from the July 2015 issue of Perspective magazine.

To continue reading, get your copy of Perspective.

 

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