Kayak House

In the Swedish archipelago south of Stockholm, lies a small kayak house with a story quite out of the ordinary. 

Residential — Sweden
In Praise of Shadows — Photo: Björn Lofterud


Thickness 30 mm. Mixed widths 350-450 mm. Length 2-5 m 

The characteristic wooden structure was originally created by the Swedish architect studio In Praise of Shadows back in 2014 as a pavilion for the Wallpaper Handmade exhibition at Salone del Mobile in Milan. The architect duo was invited to create an indoor architectural folly that would double as a seating area and meeting place for the duration of the exhibition. The pair leapt at the chance and chose to design a pavilion as a spatial and physical experience that would change when moving along the space.


In Praise of Shadows partnered with Dinesen as they wished to accentuate our area of specialization, namely unusually long and wide solid planks. For the fabrication they teamed up with Werkraum Bregenzerwald, the leafy Austrian region’s top crafts and trade association. The pavilion was built in Dinesen HeartOak and Douglas by the Austrian fine carpenter and Werkraum member, Oliver Beer, and designed as a large-scale wooden puzzle where the pieces were fitted into each other without any screws or metal connections.


After the pavilion had made its tour around Europe as a part of both the Biennale 2014 and the Bregenzerwald Exhibition in 2015, it finally landed on a rock in the Swedish archipelago where In Praise of Shadows decided to reuse it as the structure for a small kayak house.

To make the pavilion function as a kayak house, a facade was made from six local pine trees which were roughly cut and put up as cladding in a free order. Furthermore, a roof of copper was added. The house was placed on 8 conical concrete plinths like it was done in the old days to protect the site.


Inside the 11-metre-long house the wide HeartOak planks cover the floor floating in between the solid Douglas frames. Matched by glass doors with oak frames from a local carpenter, the house can be closed without blocking the light and the peaceful view of the sea. The rough outside connects to the Nordic climate and creates a visible and tactile expression of saw cuts as a contrast to the fine interior of Danish craftsmanship.

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