Jonas Verhulst

These lovely, self-contained “Slow Cabins” in remote Belgium may look like another version of a tiny home. Still, an entrepreneur is using them for a very different purpose: Isolation and intimacy. In a world moving at blinding speed these days, these remote sanctuaries lay waiting in secret locations for guests who won’t even know where they’re going until the last minute. It’s a sustainable, imaginative concept based on the 1950s-era idea of circular business modelling which seeks to reduce, retain and recycle.

Note that these aren’t like Airbnb; the Slow Cabins company builds, owns and maintains each cabin. The cabins themselves are aimed at three general categories of guests: Couples seeking out a romantic getaway, families with children, and entrepreneurs or artists who need a quiet, out-of-the-way place to focus and hone their ideas. What’s missing? The internet and, hopefully, your phone.

“Maybe our society needs ‘Slowify’ more than Spotify,” Slow Cabins founder Xavier Leclair wrote on the website. “Nature, time, and attention to each other have become the most precious thing in our fast society.”

As far as its construction and operation, the Slow Cabins are entirely self-sufficient. Electricity is generated by a large batch of solar panels on each cabin’s roof, which is also insulated using natural materials and includes a high-efficiency wood stove to quickly heat a room. Infrared heating panels can be used as a backup.

Springwater is prepared in advance of each stay, with at least five litres per couple for drinking and brushing teeth. Guests can also cook, wash and shower using filtered rainwater. Because of these limitations, the company notes that a conscientious use of energy and water is necessary. A display within each cabin guides guests’ quest for self-sufficiency, as well as the state of the rainwater level. Lastly, the cabins’ eco-friendly dry toilets don’t require any sewage. Slow Cabins will even take care of breakfast and dinner upon request, with locally sourced food baskets featuring products and meals prepared by local farmers.

However, the company doesn’t leave guests completely on their own. Along with the instructions, guests receive a series of tips about the neighbourhood in advance. The company is also committed to keeping its guests safe, even with its terms of extreme privacy. Local authorities are made aware of each stay, and each cabin is equipped with a first-aid case and a fire extinguisher.

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