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Now Up For Rent: Matali Crasset’s Bizarro Forest Cabin

The French designer completes the first of four maisons sylvestres: stand-alone hotel rooms that offer basic amenities, communion with nature, and outdoor plumbing.

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Earlier this year, Matali Crasset finished her first architectural commission — Dar Hi, a luxury ecolodge in Tunisia that one could mistake for an apartment complex on Luke Skywalker’s planet of Tatooine. The French designer’s latest architectural endeavor is decidedly humbler: four rustic cabins set down in the forest of Lorraine, France.

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Crasset began the design process by drawing up a “metaform,” a module that she copied, stacked, and positioned to create four maisons sylvestres (?feral houses?). The first to be completed, Le Nichoir (?The Birdhouse?), is a shingled two-story cabin furnished with nothing more than a table, a few rugs, and a wood-burning stove on the ground floor. (Compost toilets and a water-supply facility can be found outdoors.) A terrace and porch swing invite guests to “relax, dream, eat, watch but mainly just live an unequalled experience.”

According to Crasset, the tiny houses are “steadfastly and obstinately designed to work with sustainable development in mind.” As such, they’re built from acacia wood and Douglas pine, and propped up on galvanized-steel stilts, allowing them moved without upsetting the ground underneath.

The project is part of the artist-in-residence program Le Vent des Forêt, which each year invites artists to create works along a network of hiking trails. A feral house may be reserved through September. Each can accommodate a maximum of four people and comes with bedding and cooking equipment. For more info, go here. For those who think outdoor living is for the birds, we offer a virtual tour of Le Nichoir.

About the author

A former editor at such publications as WIRED, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company, Belinda Lanks has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, Interior Design, and ARTnews.

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