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Freya's Cabin

Studio Weave, 2009

Freya's Cabin is one of two small buildings that face each other across Kielder Water, illustrating the story of Freya & Robin who live on either side of the lake.

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Freya’s Cabin is one of a pair of small buildings located on opposite sides of the Kielder Water along the Lakeside Way. The two buildings, Robin’s Hut and Freya’s Cabin, are linked by the story of Freya & Robin, which tells a tale of the two characters who live by the lake and their efforts to meet up. Freya’s Cabin is a timber structure, clad in gold, balanced in long golden stems and carved on the inside like a forest.

It has been constructed like a flower press with two solid end that squeeze 200 differently carved 'pages' that together make up the internal forest and integrated seats.

Find out how the designers' experiences on that day fired their imaginations by reading Freya and Robin's story which can be found in either shelter.    

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The nearest parking is at Kielder Waterside. Freya's Cabin is located about 0.75 miles or around 20 minutes walking time along the Lakeside Way in the direction of Tower Knowe.

A good way to explore all the artworks along the Lakeside Way is by cycle. Bikes should be to at least hybrid cycle grade with decent country tyres for the changing terrain of Kielder Water & Forest Park.

OS map ref: NY667871

Freya’s Cabin is one of a pair of small buildings located on opposite sides of the Kielder Water along the Lakeside Way. The two buildings, Robin’s Hut and Freya’s Cabin, are linked by the story of Freya & Robin, which tells a tale of the two characters who live by the lake and their efforts to meet up. Freya’s Cabin is a timber structure, clad in gold, balanced in long golden stems and carved on the inside like a forest.

It has been constructed like a flower press with two solid end that squeeze 200 differently carved 'pages' that together make up the internal forest and integrated seats.

Architects Studio Weave imagined the story of Freya and Robin after visiting Kielder in March when the bright sun was low in the sky even in the middle of the day. From the location of Freya's Cabin, the whole of the north shore where Robin's Hut now sits was brightly illuminated and it was easy to make out the tiniest detail. From the site of Robin's Hut, viewing the south shore meant looking into the sun and made it much more difficult to make out the details of the landscape. This direct experience of the landscape and weather conditions at Kielder resulted in the story of Freya & Robin and the design of the two quirky shelters that now face each other across the lake.

 

Studio Weave is a young energetic architecture practice run by Je Ahn and Maria Smith, who have worked on a diverse set of projects across the country. Their work ranges from furniture and exhibition design, through shelters, follies and buildings, to urban landscapes and urban planning, working with private and public clients and in collaboration with a diverse network of craftspeople.

The architects say:

"We aim to create places through playing into and exploring the unique aspects of a site: its physical and geographical qualities, its use both currently and historically, as well as its myths and legends, real and imagined. We particularly appreciate the quirky and eccentric characteristics that make somewhere distinctive and we’re always on the look out for alluring narrative arcs to inform our proposals.

We begin every project with an extremely open mind and we love working closely with everyone surrounding a project to create something unique to them. Our approach to realising a project is to cherish these idiosyncratic beginnings and work closely with makers to create a highly-crafted outcome that conveys its histories and the skill and flair of all those who made it."

Not so long ago, not so very far from here, there lived a beautiful lady named Freya. Freya loved flowers. She loved the Wood Aven with its little strawberry flowers that smell like Christmas and protect against evil. She loved the Red Campion with their hoof-like petals stretching from the tips of magenta pods, decorated with tiny white curls. But most of all, she loved Foxgloves, tall figures dressed in soft bells, some in pink, some in white, and some spotted with the fingerprints of elves. Freya liked to think of the foxes ringing the bells to warn each other of danger and insects sheltering from the rain under their gentle parasols.

You could find Freya wandering across the moors wearing long dresses with big soft pockets full of flowers she’d collected. She carefully took her pickings home, and pressed them for keeping and to decorate everything around her.

Not so very far away from her, lived Robin. Robin lived in a wooden hut in the woodlands over the water from Freya. He spent his days walking through the woods, looking after the trees and the animals that lived in them. He liked climbing trees and building little wooden houses for the birds to lay their eggs in. He dashed about the forest playing swift and intelligent games with the deer and scrambled about helping the squirrels find their buried nuts.

Freya could see Robin across the water. She could see he was kind and careful with the trees and the animals and that he loved them as much as she loved the flowers. Mostly, he skipped about playing, but sometimes, Freya saw him standing, perhaps sadly, she thought, looking out over the water. She longed to be able to talk to him, to ask him if he was all right or what it was he was dreaming of. So one day, Freya decided to make Robin a gift of a wonderful cabin. She hoped that he would see the cabin from his wooden hut and then maybe he would make a raft or a boat and come to see it.

Over the next few weeks, Freya worked very hard to collect flowers and plants and small branches. She made a big flower press and carefully laid out her collection in the shape of a woodland, just like she imagined the one Robin lived in. For the walls, she arranged the strongest branches from thick to thin. And for the roof she made an enchanted forest ceiling with twisted branches tickling each other. She decorated the entrance with precious Foxgloves to invite the fairies in. Then she pressed everything tight together so they would be strong and crisp and last forever.

While she was making the cabin, she noticed that Robin spent more and more time dreamily looking across the water. She was thrilled for she thought he must be looking to see what she was up to. She was so excited that she went and collected as many tall, straight flowers as she could find and proudly balanced the cabin up on a thousand of the tallest straightest stems to be sure that Robin could see it properly. But Robin couldn’t see it properly; he couldn’t see it at all.

Freya lived on the South side of the lake, which meant that the sun’s rays lit up the landscape in front of her and she could see for miles. But Robin lived on the North of the lake, so when he looked towards the South the sun got in his eyes and all he could see was a golden blur above the lapping blue lake.

Actually, Robin was very fond of the golden blur and often stood admiring the hot fuzzy oranges and purples shimmer. It reminded him of an amazing place he had been told about when he was a little boy. He had heard the stories many times, that in the far North there is a magical place called Glimmerfell, where there are huge mountains pointing out above the clouds, covered with flowers growing from the rocks and the ice.

Apparently, the flowers glow orange and purple because in Glimmerfell, it is always sunset. He found himself thinking of this place more and more, until eventually, one day, he decided to build a boat and set off to try to find it.

Of course, when Freya saw Robin collecting wood and beginning to build a boat, she was thrilled that he had seen that she had almost finished the cabin and was planning to row across the lake to see her. Over the next few days, Freya put the finishing touches onto the cabin and Robin built his boat and packed it with food for a long journey.

Then one morning, he untied the boat from its mooring, and set off. Freya watched expectantly as Robin rowed towards her. She felt she had never been so happy and excited in all her life. But after a short while, he seemed to be drifting away to the west and soon Freya realised that he wasn’t coming her way at all, but instead, was going in completely the opposite direction.

Freya couldn’t understand what she could have done so wrong. Not only did Robin not want to come and see the cabin she had made for him, he wanted to leave the lake completely. She sat down in the middle of the garden she’d planted by the cabin and began to cry. As Robin rowed further and further away, she became so upset, her tears turned into gold. She picked herself up and wrapped the cabin in the gold tears streaming from her eyes.

Meanwhile, as Robin was rowing away, he turned his head to look back at the lake he loved. He hoped everyone would be all right while he was gone. As he watched the familiar woodland slipping further and further away, knowing that he might not see his home for a long time, he noticed something glinting in the distance. He thought it must just be the sun in his eyes, but as he took one last glance, he saw it again, even brighter. He was so curious that he decided to row back and find out what it was. After all, he hadn’t gone too far yet.

As he approached the glimmering, it grew brighter and brighter and he rowed with all his might. Once he was quite near the shore he could see an unusual golden cabin that looked like it had a forest inside it. Then once he was very close, he could see that next to the cabin, someone was sitting and crying with her face buried in her dress. Robin quickly tied up his boat, rushed over, and gently swept the foxgloves so they sang soothingly. Freya lifted her head at the sound and saw Robin standing there with a concerned look on his face. A little embarrassed, she brushed the tears from her eyes and they fell like gold dew onto the surrounding grass. Robin offered his hand and she unruffled herself as he pulled her up. Seeing she was all right, Robin turned to the golden cabin. He was quite enchanted by it. Freya explained that she’d made it for him. Luckily, he had climbed inside for a better look just before she said this, so she didn’t see him blush!

Freya and Robin sat in the cabin all afternoon, talking about the trees and the flowers. Robin almost forgot he was planning to go to find Glimmerfell. He described to Freya, the cloud-collared mountains and the glowing ice-flowers. Freya was fascinated and asked him lots of questions he didn’t know the answers to because he hadn’t been there yet. Freya offered to lend Robin her flower press so he could collect some flowers to bring home. Robin said he wouldn’t know how to press the flowers properly and asked whether Freya would perhaps, like to go with him. Freya said she would love to.

So at sunset, having loaded Robin’s boat with some more food and Freya’s flower press, they set off on their adventure.

They didn’t leave very long ago, so they are still away adventuring, but if you can find them, you can see Robin’s wooden hut and the golden cabin that Freya made for him, facing each other across the lake, awaiting their return.

Freya's Cabin is sited on the Bull Crag peninsula, home of the Kielder Keepsake trail. Keepsake's rubbing plaques can be found along the Lakeside Way in the direction of Tower Knowe. See Keepsake's detail page for more information.