Appearing for all the world like a habitable version of Chicago's Cloud Gate, Lovegrove Studios' futuristic Alpine Capsule is designed to blend in with nature, reflecting and complementing its immediate environment. Powered by solar panels and a vertical axis wind turbine, the off-grid alpine retreat features a shimmering glass skin with a reflective coating that allows individuals to sleep under the stars while admiring a 360 degree panorama of the beautiful landscape.
Designers like Ross Lovegrove, who think of cars on sticks and solar trees, are constantly pushing the envelope. You may think concepts like these are absolutely off the wall and completely impractical, but at the same time, innovation and crazy ideas can inspire brilliant solutions.
Lovegrove was inspired to design his Alpine Capsule by Moritz Craffonara, a local in the Alpine Dolomites of Italy. Craffonara wanted a bed under the stars and was able to connect with the famous designer to help design it.
The Alpine Capsule is an 8-meter wide structure with a double-glass skin that is covered with a special reflective coating. The coating meant to reflect the structure’s surroundings and blend in with the environment. The capsule is straight out of a sci-fi novel and looks more like a bead of mercury than an alpine retreat, but Lovegrove is by no means traditional. In a CNN video, Lovegrove says, “It’s not as synthetic as you think. It doesn’t really interfere with nature, it just actually reflects and compliments it. You probably won’t even see it.”
As with many of Lovegrove’s designs, he focuses on sustainability and self-sufficiency. The Capsule will be off-grid and powered by a “power plant,” which integrates a vertical axis wind turbine and solar panels. Construction is expected to begin in 2010 at Piz la Ila (Alta Badia, Italy), and the structure will be located at an altitude of 2,100 meters. Rather than building a cabin in the traditional alpine style with wood, Lovegrove’s goal was to create a place where visitors could be safe and warm while still being able to appreciate the amazing landscape surrounding them. “It’s completely transparent from the inside, and at night you can see the stars. That will be a remarkable experience to be warm and cozy and intimate with this vast universe.”