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You probably wouldn’t guess by looking at it that this glass-and-wood retreat in the remote Chichibu mountains of Japan got its initial inspiration from a Phish concert in Maine. Tokyo-based outdoor clothing and gear designer Setsumasa Kobayashi attended a jam band festival at a campground along with some 60,000 other attendees and walked away with a vision for a sustainable getaway removed from the bustle of the city, where he could test out the products he creates.
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The result is a set of two dark-stained timber structures on an oversized wooden deck, each with a flat, habitable roof. Topping the larger volume is a geodesic dome for lounging, sleeping and stargazing. While the buildings were in progress, Kobayashi used the large wooden platform as a base for a North Face tent, experimenting with the idea of camping as a longer-term lifestyle rather than just an overnight or weekend experience.
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Everything about the retreat aims to incorporate a sense of adventure. All meals are served in camping gear, there’s a climbing wall in the living room, and guests can take baths or showers on the roof. Solar panels supply daytime electricity, and chopped firewood is stored beneath the deck.
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The architect finds the ‘inconvenience’ of remote living, away from the comforts and conveniences of the city, as the foundation of a different sort of life. While he might have to boil his hot water on top of a wood stove, cut firewood himself and use oil lamps after dark, Kobayashi believes there’s wisdom to be gained from carrying out these manual tasks.