A classic inspired by nature
2002 Montreux, Switzerland. We had the opportunity to visit a local chalet. From there, we continued on a business trip to Central Europe, where we delivered and continue to deliver a significant part of our production.
We had a sauna project coming up and soon a house project; we began to design the sauna in earnest at the end of the same year. As part of our work, we had visited a considerable number of fine houses, so finding our own style of cottage and house seemed a difficult decision. The mountains and the North had always been the spiritual home to which we returned. We were looking in the mountains and in Lapland for the theme of
the house, but none of the existing ones felt right.
We were seeking the experience of nights spent camping in the mountains, under a clear starry sky. We wanted an experience that combined nature and housing with everyday life. Could we combine everyday life with mountain trekking? We had slept in Mountain Huts and experienced the rough feel of wooden beams and the vigour they provide. We thought our solution might be found somewhere in there.
However, a mountain shelter would be too harsh for everyday life. An urban version would be needed that would combine the best of both worlds. We had provided traditional chalets for the Alps, with long eaves and powerful forms. My own birthplace was a chalet, originating in Swiss deliveries. However, it seemed too traditional. We were also attracted by the modern idiom. We wondered feverishly how all these ideas could be combined in the same package.
In the end, like many builders I asked my wife, Katariina, where she felt best. She thought for a moment, then answered determinedly, “that chalet in Montreux!” And sure enough, it came back to me. We studied photographs and found some things that we liked and others that we did not. The house was like a modern version of my birthplace: the DNA was clearly the same.
We began to combine the things we had collected and that we liked. We drew a simple-looking 33 square metre cottage with a sauna and a loft for sleeping, which we called Polar 33. It seemed immediately like the only right choice. It combined Mountain Hut, chalet, modernism, organic structure, connection with nature, mountains, hiking, landscape, my birthplace, and everyday life. We believed, and still believe 14 years later, that it was perfect for us. Styles come and go, but this will remain now and always, like nature and the mountains. Polar is inspired by nature and created so that we could be hiking in the mountains in our weekday lives. It restores to everyday living a connection with nature that has been lost in the urban world.
Polar Swan 225 was completed in 2010 entirely following the lines created by our sauna.
This was the Polar Collection story as it happened.
Mikko and Katariina Vainionpää
family entrepreneurs, Polar Life Haus