Based on a 1938 design for a futuristic mountain shelter called the Refuge Tonneau, this modern mountain getaway features a space-shuttle-like exterior made of lightweight aluminum panels and a cozy cabin interior. Italian design firm Cassina has recreated the design based on the original drawings and notes, resulting in a structure that’s ideally suited for harsh environments.
The original Refuge Tonneau was never actually built, but similar designs have popped up in the world’s most inhospitable places, like Antarctica and the Mars Society Desert Research Station. The simple dodecahedron shape and sleek metal materials avoid wind resistance to keep the structure stable, making it ideal for cliffside placement.
The lightweight aluminum exterior makes it easier to transport to remote locations, while the legs adjust to uneven terrain. Porthole-like windows and a slightly pointed roof add to the space shuttle feel.
Inside, it looks like an ordinary – albeit highly efficient – tiny mountain cabin. A central steel pillar contains a wood stove for warmth and cooking. Snow is collected in a bucket which is hung over the sink to melt. A system of leather belts control benches along the wall, which can be folded up when not in use, and sleeping pads on the second floor accommodate four guests.