At first glance, the shape of this small paper cabin seems rather simple: a little cube with a pitched roof – almost like a house drawn by a child. But if you walk around the house, it becomes apparent that the compact volume is actually like an accordion which unfolds and changes depending on your perspective.
Architect: Mattias Lind, White Arkitekter, Sweden
Marketing agency: Happy F+ B
Printing shop: Göteborgstryckeriet
The capacity to unfold comes thanks to the accordion-pleated longitudinal sides of the two-tone Chameleon Cabin. From one side, the little house shows a black marble look; on the other side it gleams in white. Each gable end matches one of these colours, so visitors are presented with either a completely black, absolutely white or a striped garden shed. In contrast, the warm, yellow interior glows through the wide openings. The paper summerhouse comprises 95 modules and weighs 100 kg altogether. The prefabricated components are made of 2 mm-thick sheets of corrugated paper measuring 1,200 X 1,600 mm, known in Sweden as Miniwell. Despite their thinness, this material is said to be both stable and durable. The modules can be quickly assembled and disassembled in situ. The roof is attached by means of a plug-and-socket system similar to the Lego principle. This building-block construction makes it possible to extend the paper accordion to a length of 100 metres. The proportions of the Chameleon Cabin give a nod to the Swedish friggebod, a three-metre high garden shed with a floor area of 7 m². These sheds can be erected without a building permit. Cooperating with a marketing agency and a printing shop offered architect Mattias Lind the opportunity to work intensively with paper. His experiments and research surrounding this renewable commodity have shown great potential. Because the constant developments in cutting tools are making it easier to realize complex, digitally designed shapes, the future could see more architecture made of paper. The Chameleon Cabin project has already given us a compelling prototype.