Design / Mobility
The KOJA tree house reimagines and elevates the future of travelling, and lodging
Kristian Talvitie presents his new travelling alternative called KOJA, which became the honourable mention of the 2021 Polestar Design Contest and is the first from the competition to be produced as a full-scale model. Now Polestar invites you to do the same.
13 Jul 2022

Last week the Finnish designer Kristian Talvitie, unveiled his micro-space, tree house at Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale. The project is named KOJA, that is stemming from the Swedish word of hut or den, which is similar to the german ”koje” and Japanese ”こや”, having the same pronunciation.  

When seeing Talvitie’s concept it is easy to understand the name, due to its resemblance to an actual hut — but slightly more refined. The building is attached to a tree trunk, just below the canopy, without harming the actual tree. The structure then invites people to enjoy the natural environment from a new perspective, among the tree tops through a panoramic glazed façade.

KOJA is aimed to rethink the way we travel, by actually reducing travel. With KOJA, Talvitie wants people that usually would need to travel further to experience nature, to make it more accessible and at the same time offer a sustainable travel alternative.

— Most designers look at design from a user perspective, I also look at things from the environment’s perspective. There should be a symbiosis between the design and where it’s encountered, Talvitie explains.

The Polestar Design Contest

Talvitie first presented his project in the global Polestar Design Contest 2021, in which he got an honourable mention. The project is the first coming from the competition to be produced as a full-scale model.

The Swedish electric vehicle company have hosted the global design contest since 2020, in which they challenge people to envision future- and forward-thinking designs. Besides giving aspiring designers a platform for envisioning their ideas, the competition has been strengthening the design community for Polestar. 

JP Berna, Interior Design Manager at Polestar, is also the founder and curator of the Instagram-page, @polestardesigncommunity. A page that is dedicated to sharing and discussing designs and ideas within the Polestar community. The community then developed and became the Design Contest.

The Design Contest has further strengthened the community of Polestar. After the first Design Contest, Polestar managed to attract the attention of the French fashion house Balenciaga. Which gave Polestar’s cars a feature in the video game ”Underworld”, in which Balenciaga presented one of its collections. ”This collaborative projects that we do with Polestar, I think is very unique and it’s a way of stretching the brand to other brands”, JP explains and continues ”it was also pretty cool to see that [with Balenciaga] we could reach such a big audience”.

Even though Polestar primarily could be classified as a transportation company, the competition is reaching beyond the borders of the highway. JP however highlights one thing the contestants need to have in their projects.

— Within the community, we never know exactly what we’re going to receive. This is kind of mesmerizing for an outsider, to see that when you have a brief, designers come with their ideas in such a widespread. Therefore, in the brief, we always say it could be a car, it could be a house, it could be a flying sheep, it could be a drone, it could be fashion, it could be whatever. But it needs to be a Polestar.

A criterion that JP explains was one of the strongest when examining KOJA.

We wanted to make something for a better planet and something that is tangible. Then, within all the sustainability that our brand is addressing and the fact of the CO2 emissions, then we said it needs to kind of cope under this umbrella to be able to deliver on those principles and I think KOJA stretched the brand to the farthest. By making something that was so pure, so unique.

The design contest is now open for submissions for its 2022 edition, in which contestants compete of having their designs produced in a full-scale model and showcased at Auto Shanghai in 2023.

The third edition holds the theme of Polestar’s third pillar — ”Performance”. A theme in which JP thinks designers will be able to really push their boundaries. 

— When progressing performance, you can actually push it quite a lot. The design must embody that shift, Both the experience and the technical aspects of design which enable this in a sustainable way. It could be a car or any other means of transportation. It could be something beyond that car that improves our needs in society.