Before starting Genoa-based architecture practice Llabb, founders Luca Scardulla and Federico Robbiano crafted custom furniture out of a converted garage. Self-taught, the pair honed their skills producing bookshelves, tables, and chairs before moving on to the architecture they design today, where traces of their craftsmen background permeate throughout projects.
Recently, the pair decided to pass on their woodworking techniques to their entire studio, hosting a two-week design and build charrette in the mountains of the Trebbia Valley, Italy. Together, the team produced the Hermitage Cabin, a singular off-grid prototype made completely of Okoumé wood and inspired by Japanese teahouses and Scandinavian simplicity. Finished with fine-tuned and graceful details, the cabin visibly reflects years of handcraft knowledge.
The cabin sits cantilevered over the valley below, hovering on four wooden legs, and is approached by a slender footbridge. It's compact in both appearance and footprint–at only 130 square feet, the interior can only hold a compact bathroom, desk, and modest living area, although the studio carefully designed the space to be functional and comfortable.
Upon entering, the desk runs along the entire right side of the interior and doubles as a storage space or a bench, if needed. The bathroom, with a composting toilet, sink, shower, and water tank is directly to the left, hidden in a small corner. The entryway platform is spacious enough to accommodate a light sleeping mat.
One shallow step below, the living space is defined by its own level and runs up against generous floor-to-ceiling windows leading onto a modest terrace that overlooks the surrounding Apennine mountains.
To provide sun protection, the terrace features a fenestrated wall on its northeastern side and a pergola roof fitted with retractable fabric. Corrugated metal and two solar panels sit on the remainder of the roof, powering outlets and two wall-mounted desk lamps on the interior. Elsewhere, a small longitudinal window placed above the desk peeks out at the surroundings like a port hole.
The Hermitage Cabin was made of pre-fabricated panels laborously transferred to the remote site by studio members over a two-week process. The structure is designed to be disassembled and transported easily, so, while this is a one-off project for now, there's hope yet that more models could be produced in the future.