February 19, 2024


With nearly four million entries under the tag #cabin On Instagram alone, and over a billion views on TikTok, it’s no wonder this phenomenon is one of the internet’s main obsessions. But, let us start at the beginning. Since the Stone Age, the cabins have been part of the history of humanity; It is the most primitive and essential facet of the human being, connecting him with nature and the earth. In the first century, Vitruvius, architect for Julius Caesar during the Roman Empire and author of the oldest known treatise on architecture, introduced the concept of a cabin that exists today, defining a refuge in nature to disconnect.

Henry David Thoreau, as far back as the 19th century, has made everyone long for a Walden experience ever since. Escape from the routine or the city and connect the solitude of man with the forest: that is the key. “I went to the woods because I deliberately wanted to live; face only the facts of life and see if I could learn what she had to teach,” he would write in his journal. They have been a myth in literature and art, extolling the idea of ​​the writer’s cabin, that little refuge where you can unleash your ink. Many of the great works of Thoreau himself, Gustav Mahler or Virginia Woolf were written in tool houses or wooden shelters.

In cabins to think, Eduardo Outeiro Herreño (Luis Seoane Foundation, 2011) and various authors reflect on the relationship between intimacy, creativity and the natural spaces of writers, musicians or architects throughout history. It has also been a challenge for architects like Le Corbusier, who in the fifties of the last century conceived Le Cabanon, his small palace on the French coast, as he called it —today one of his projects recognized by Unesco—. But it is with the birth of the internet when the cabins become a symbol of aspiration for the majority of those who live between concrete and asphalt.

Cabin Porn, the Bible

In 2009, the year of boom of social networks, when WhatsApp was a technological baby and Instagram did not yet exist, it was Facebook and MySpace who dominated digital conversations and Tumblr was consolidated as the main platform for microblogging. And right there, in that breeding ground prior to the I like and the emoji, Zach Klein, CEO of Dwell and co-founder of Vimeo, decided to create a space for one of his great passions: cabins in the woods. This is how Cabin Porn was born, the precedent of the cabaño movement on the Internet and the main culprit behind the obsession with small wooden houses. With more than 10 million visits to its website per month, it started a revolution that today floods the Internet, virtually disconnecting while doing scrollwishing they were in a wooden house from the other side of the screen.

In 2016 Cabin Porn made the leap into the publishing world and published its first book, curated by Klein and selecting the best of the best among more than 12,000 cabins that dominated the web at that time. In 2019, they released Cabin Porn Inside, a second volume dedicated to interior design and which consolidated the movement beyond the internet. From Taschen to Gestalten, the main publishers have turned this phenomenon into a bestseller, forming part of the shelves most instagrammed of the world.

Around this cabin boy euphoria, applications such as Nosili or CampNight have been born that want to transform our productivity and sleep by simulating life in the heart of the forest. Also projects like The Cabin Club or The Cabin Land explore that territory from the most traveling point of view and focused on lifestyle. Even in fashion and decoration, where the famous cottagecore either cabincore They have carved a niche for themselves, creating an aesthetic and a visual style around the rural world that idealizes country life.

Fleeing the city after the pandemic

But if the internet has been fascinated with cabins for more than 10 years, why are we now obsessed with living in one? “During the lockdown, people stopped and then we had a moment to think. We live full of mechanized habits and in a society of rules”, comments the psychologist Ruth Zazo. “When we stopped, we began to consider what to do with our lives and to realize that we had to get out of the routine and the norm. We adapt to a change of scenery and we begin to have a different concept of housing”, she continues, “we want to enjoy ourselves and the space in which we live acquires a sense of pleasure that did not exist before”.

After the 2020 lockdown, searches for cabins, log home rentals and manufactured home construction tripled from previous years. Suddenly, something had changed: The pandemic snapped the world out of the stressful, productive loop it was in, fueling a desire to drop everything and return to the field. Cities like Madrid or Barcelona have been losing inhabitants in the last three years. The materialization of that aspiration of the cabin becomes more tangible with the exodus from the city that has been leading the search for open spaces and connected with nature.

However, this movement has nothing to do with the Great Resignation or Great Resignation, although that flight from the cities looks similar, and which has caused an avalanche of workers in the United States to leave their jobs. It is a much more internal and intimate attachment, a return to the roots that pushes the reset button to make people aware of their surroundings. “The pandemic has taught us that we can live better, that we can take control of our lives”, affirms Zazo, who assures that now “small houses do not make sense, and teleworking allows us to live in friendlier areas, with more freedom and oxygen”.

Living in FOMO territory (Fear Of Missing Out Something, the fear of missing something) and to expose lives on Instagram without any limitations, it is time to connect with nature and forget the imposed productivity that often turns people into machines. Ultimately, the phenomenon #cabin it is nothing more than the awareness of returning to the beginning, resuming the quiet life of our ancestors.

But long before the pandemic and that reconciliation with nature, after months locked up between four walls, the Getaway website was born in 2015, with the thought of meeting in balance with the environment when going on vacation. Getaways two hours from any city that wanted to recharge the batteries and reconnect with the sound of the wild, at a time when cities were growing more and more and the countryside was emptying. More recently, Airbnb, echoing the new trends in travel around the world after confinement, has redesigned the entire experience of its vacation rentals, giving greater visibility to accommodations of this type with its curation of unique spaces. Tree houses in Italy, alpine chalets in Switzerland or rustic cabins in Finland miles away from cities are some of the examples that this is a business in full expansion and that, in reality, it has only just begun. That is why, as Henry David Thoreau said, you have to go to the forest to live deliberately because you did not want to live what was not life.

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