For some, the words "self-sufficiency" may conjure up more pragmatic, survivalist-type scenarios, while for others they may evoke more Thoreauvian, back-to-the-land ideals. Dutch design studio Tjep takes a product design approach to the idea, creating this "far-away, isolated, intelligent scenic house" that combines technology with a minimalist aesthetic, all powered by solar energy.
Most retreat concepts are about 'back to basic', but this concept really tries to embrace technology and integrated design to take full advantage of self-sufficiency in a remote area.
But self-sufficiency here seems to focus more narrowly on technological solutions rather than land-based ones, as Tjepkema explains in an interview with Frame Magazine:
I was curious to see what would happen if you gave a house the same sort of detailed design that's found in all sorts of products we use every day. The cars we drive, the computers and tablets we use, the smartphones – all sophisticated, aesthetically sound objects. And then we go home, where we’re surrounded by a stack of bricks.
Meant to be low-impact but exuding the same "engineered beauty" as you might find in today's predictably sleek gadgets, Isolée features gigantic shutter-like walls that can open or close automatically to give the occupants an expansive view, or to protect them from inclement weather.
The house is powered by a dynamic solar tree sitting on its roof, and it sits on the ground with four tapering feet (albeit anchored by concrete piers), just as a piece of furniture would.
For warmth, the house uses a heating system that circulates water within the walls, which is heated by a woodstove.
The house does live up to its name -- seemingly isolating its occupants from contact with the outside -- even the woodpile can be accessed from the interior if it's too "unpleasant" out of doors. As Isolée has the deliberate feel of a branded product more than that of a "place," it works more as a technologically-oriented mobile dwelling, than an old-fashioned cabin of rustic restfulness in the woods. More over at Tjep.