In the depths of Norway’s dense, emerald forested coastline, a panoramic scene abounding with fjords and mountains, sits the set of cult film classic, Ex Machina, filmed in situ at a striking design hotel of floating, impassive architecture, Alstad’s Juvet Landscape Hotel.
Conceived with minimal intrusion on the scenery in mind, but all the while making the most of the views of Norway's surrounding wilderness, it’s a place where you can retreat into nature completely and feel almost swallowed up by it.
Designed by the Oslo-based architecture practice Jensen & Skodvin, the wooden cabins that make up the hotel project are submerged within the forested terrain and covered in grass on all sides bar the glass windows, where they look out onto the sublime beauty of this mountainous and inhospitable Norwegian nature.
There’s a sauna almost directly adjacent to a tempestuous river, a main platform cantilevered around a cliff, and the secluded cabins, though placed relatively close together, are built just so, as to not allow any peeping-in – a feat of brave and ambitious architecture that most definitely pays off.
What with the feeling of returning to our most fundamental relationship with all things that grow, it’s quite surprising that the Juvet Landscape Hotel was chosen as one of the locations for Ex Machina, a cult science-fiction film.
The directorial debut of Alex Garland is an independent sci-fi psychological thriller that received critical acclaim when it came out in 2015. From the screenplay to the visual effects, to the performance of Alicia Vikander – this film showed the British director’s great promise.
It tells the story of a programmer, Caleb Smith, who wins an office contest to visit the luxurious but isolated home of his CEO, Nathan Bateman – this is where the Juvet Landscape Hotel makes an impressive appearance. Smith is asked by Nathan to administer the Turing test to an intelligent humanoid robot, Ava, who ends up – without sharing too much of the plot – showing true intelligence.
Even though the Juvet Landscape Hotel was finished in 2007, it is incredible how the minimal lines of the cabins and the glass, along with the inhospitable natural surroundings, bestow this sci-fi film with an unsettling atmosphere and dose of noir – something Norway’s screens have become very good at, lately.
But don’t let that scare you away. In the company of your friends or family, or even just by yourself, the Juvet Landscape Hotel is the ideal place to tune into your inner workings, in all the piece and quiet you could ever hope for.
If Alstad’s minimalist movie screen isn’t quite your scene and instead you fancy something a bit more fairytale Disney, then have a peek at our other Norway design den, Herangtunet Boutique Hotel, a rural idyll of fabulous organic food and cosy, stylish interiors. For more on all things Norway travel peek in our Travel Journal for a Rakfisk festival in Valdres, Snohetta’s wild reindeer architecture, Ralston and Bau’s design ‘Shrooms’and the Artscape Nordland.