Sweden is on a roll with the unusual accommodations lately. Earlier this year, they caught our eye with the floating Arctic Bath Hotel. Now we’re daydreaming about escaping to one of these glass-clad, stress-reducing, surrounded-by-nature chalets: The 72 Hour Cabin.
Though it looks like a particularly Instagrammable Airbnb, the 72 Hour Cabin is actually part of a scientific study. Swedes have a close relationship with nature and a famously high-ranking quality of life, so Visit Sweden and Turistrådet Västsverige (West Sweden Tourist Board) designed an experiment to determine if there’s a connection. Could living in Swedish nature make us feel better – and in only 72 hours?
The study brought five urbanites with stressful jobs to picturesque Henriksholm Island, two hours away from Gothenburg. For three days, these custom-built cabins were their homes. Architect student Jeanna Berger designed the 72 Hour Cabin to offer comfort while maintaining a simple aesthetic and maximising the link to the natural landscape. They boast glass walls and ceilings as well as solid wood flooring and frames, with only a bed included in the cosy interior.
Amongst the five stressed-out souls who took part in the study were Ben Fogle, a broadcaster from London who said he hoped the experience would help him “destress and unwind from [his] frenetic travel,” and Baqer Keshwani, an event manager in New York, who said his 24/7 job leaves little time leftover for himself. The other three participants were taxi driver from Paris, a police officer from Munich, and a journalist from London
Walter Osika and Cecilia Stenfors, leading researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, monitored the study subjects, who each wore a bracelet that tracked their well-being.
“Swedish nature offers the physical and mental space to face yourself and others,” says Osika. “I’ve found that time passed in nature is beneficial for a good amount of my patients, and applaud this Swedish initiative.”
“Nature enables the Swedish to reinvigorate, relax and improve their quality of life while feeling happier,” says Visit Sweden’s client experience director, Jennie Skogsborn Missuna. “With ‘The 72 Hour Cabin,’ we hope to give people from many countries the chance to better understand the relationship between the Swedish and nature, and convince others to take advantage of our vast, easily accessible spaces.”
So, does time spent in the wilds of Sweden actually improve health and reduce stress? The findings of the study won’t be released until later this month, but we’re expecting a resounding “yes.”