My girlfriend virtually insisted that we go to Norway, this past winter, to see the Northern Lights. I have long been fascinated by Norwegian Architecture, so I wholeheartedly agreed. Two days before our trip, while doing some research, I found a blog post about Snorre Stinessen’s Sea Cabins. When I texted Luiza the link, her response was just 4 words long “We are going there!” The next day, she was emailing Manshausen, and we were rearranging our itinerary.
Manshausen is far off the beaten path, even for Norway. To get there we flew to Bodø, boarded a ferry to the small fishing village of Nordskot where we were met by the polar explorer, and owner of the sea cabins, Børge Ousland. He took us the last kilometer to Manshausen, in a small, open top, fishing boat, under a clearing, -3C° and moonless, arctic night sky.
The sea cabins sit out on the western edge of the island. Børge showed us how to enter the cabin, and then gave us an extensive tour, explaining every detail of the design. Once he left, we sat in the living room lounge chairs, and talked about our great fortune for having made it here. The architecture, the materials, the interior, and the views of both the water and the night sky were breath taking.
Around 10 pm, the clouds disappeared and we began to see the faint glow of the Northern Lights out on the horizon. I got my camera and began to photograph. For the next 2 hours, Luiza watched the show from the warmth of the sea cabin, as I headed outside to watch through my camera’s lens. We both found everything we came to Norway to see, and more than we could have ever imagined.
When we got back to the US, I processed the images and sent them to Børge. He liked them so much that he invited us back, as his guests, to shoot the interiors and to spend more time in the island. We decided to return in April before the crowds of summer, and while we could still experience the aurora, up there, above the arctic circle.
On our second trip we also met the architect, Snorre Stinessen, who has since received numerous architectural awards for this work, including 4 A+ Awards from Architeizer and a German Design Council, Iconic Award for 2016.