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This Boulder Is Secretly Hiding An Alpine Shelter

Located in the Swiss alps, this designer cabin is the perfect writerly retreat.

The appeal of the Alpine cabin doesn’t just lie in its seclusion, but in the way it makes you feel somehow closer to nature. The Antoine Cabin takes that feeling to the next level: it’s a beautiful designer shelter in the Swiss Alps that is so in tune with its surroundings, it is embedded inside a giant (fake) boulder.

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Located around 7,545 feet above sea level in the Les Ruinettes sculpture park in the Swiss Alps, the Antoine is a subterfuge by design. On the outside, it looks just like any of the other boulders that stick out of the Alpine snow, but open a secret door, and it houses a small wooden cabin, designed to give one man both solitude and shelter: a chair, a table, a bed, and a stove. There’s even a built-in window and skylight.


The Antoine was designed by Bureau A, a Swiss architecture and design firm founded in 2012 by Leopold Banchini and Daniel Zamarbide. According to the designers, the inspiration for the Antoine was literary in nature: namely, the novel Derborence by the Swiss writer Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz, which describes a massive rock fall that covered the pastures of the valley of Lizerne in 1714. Antoine, the main character, survives seven weeks under the rocks before he manages to escape.

What Derborence‘s Antoine was compelled to do by tragedy, Bureau A hopes some people will opt to do voluntarily. “We hope that people will use the cabin to spend a night in these beautiful mountains,” Bureau A’s Leopold Banchini tells me. “But people can also just use it to rest for a while or to eat their sandwich with they hike in the region.”

The one thing Banchini doesn’t expect it will be used for, ironically given its inspiration, is as an emergency shelter. “In case of really bad weather, it could be used as a shelter,” he says. “But since it’s hidden, you would already need to know of its existence.”