Estonia-based Iglucraft is known for their made-to-order saunas and cabins that stand out for their distinctive shape and traditionally-styled shingle cladding. With previous clients in Instagram-worthy locations all around the world, their latest project considered the needs of guests and the unique environment of a wildlife rehabilitation center in Denmark.
Completed in March, these handcrafted Igluhuts provide overnight accommodation for guests of Ree Park Safari in Ebeltoft, Denmark, about 150 miles northwest of Copenhagen. The park rehabilitates a range of endangered species before returning them to natural environments.
Among several custom features, the clients requested a large, park-facing window from which guests could observe surrounding animals. Additionally, floor plan changes included the removal of a kitchen and bathroom, both of which were unnecessary given on-site facilities.
Iglucraft recently launched an in-house production team focused exclusively on prototyping and building custom projects.
"The main idea is to incorporate a client's needs without losing the characteristic features of our products-specifically, the shape and shingle style," says Priit Kallas, the CEO of Iglucraft. "Our core design makes it possible to add modules that double or triple the unit in size, while adjusting the positions of doors and windows, as well as the overall layout."
For this particular project, the production team added a panoramic window, reoriented the entryway, and adapted the floor plan to create larger sleeping/lounging spaces.
The group of cabins are accessed by a decking system that connects with other paths in the park. The site setup also required Iglucraft to incorporate rear-facing entry doors instead of their standard position along the front facade.
"Most of our cabins and saunas are located in someone's backyard or somewhere that requires the door to be beautiful and accessible along the front," comments Kallas. "Yet, in this case, the clean aesthetic look of all the windows across the front is just wonderful."
In fact, the Iglucraft team liked the panoramic window feature so much they decided to add it to their standard list of options. "With increasing demand, we understand that being open to custom requests is also an essential means of communicating with clients and getting feedback for future product development," Kallas adds.
Inside, an alcove to one side contains a bed with luggage storage underneath.
On the opposite side, a dining alcove doubles as an additional sleeping area if needed.
Discussions for the project began in late 2019 with the Iglucraft team visiting the site. "The clients told us about their vision and we had professional drawings from our engineers confirmed within a month," explains Jüri Ristna, the head of production. Fabrication began in February and delivery was scheduled for March-right when border closures were imposed throughout Europe to help control the spread of COVID-19.
"Due to travel restrictions, our client faced the challenge of installing the cabins by themselves, while we were coordinating from a distance," Ristna adds. "Even so, the transport was on time and the clients were well informed about the installation."
While the Iglucraft team would usually be on-site for the final installation, the Ree Park team managed much of the installation themselves-a process made easier by the turnkey designs available from Iglucraft.
With the elevated platforms built in advance, the on-site work largely required setting each unit in place. "These clients were very professional, with the knowhow and preparation," says Ristna.
As the travel industry adapts to the current lockdowns and future possibilities, the Iglucraft team is also using the time to reflect on their own products. "This is the best time to unplug and look at everything we do from a distance," comments Kallas.
"Over the summer, we started working with an interior designer who will help us review the design process at a much deeper level," adds Ristna. "We are also conducting interviews with previous clients and are planning to launch new cabin designs by spring 2021." Recently, the company also introduced a new home office concept based on their cabin design.
The project in Denmark has been so successful that Iglucraft is currently working on six additional cabins for another area of the park.
Prices for standard Igluhuts begin at €19,900 (approximately $23,500), with additional costs for custom upgrades, taxes, and transportation.