I listened to a podcast called The Spaceship Earth by Dan Burgess, where the founder of this terrific site talked about how it came to be. I reveled in the story of one creative lady wanting to make a safe space to share with other people, a place to come and contemplate, to unlock potential and reconnect with the world at base level. And that’s exactly what she did. Louise took her time to find the right spot, networking with Cornish farmers and making friends all over the county; it was well worth the wait and last minute phone wrangling at auction to secure a wilderness of varied landscape that was once slate quarry and working mine. Its industrial past evident in the smattering of roads and ruins, water sources and leat systems, the land had woodlands, bare rock, waterfalls and wildflowers dotted with nods to its heritage. It couldn’t be a more perfect escape.
Except, of course, you can’t build on such places.
Which is a good thing. You don’t want to lose the essence of the place and that’s what’s so great about Louise finding it. She was determined not to impact on the ecosystem here, damage the wildlife or leave any kind of footprint and being an imaginative soul had the wherewithal to come up with a solution to the ‘camping-only’ caveat.
And then she camped a little more, familiarising herself with the ins and outs, nooks, crannies and iterations of a site where every day something was different. She adjusted to the bio time, welcomed the changing of the seasons and took inspiration from the life thriving around her.
The answer was glamping.
There was no doubt Louise wanted to do something original, something that spoke to the people who would stay there, challenge them and inspire them as she herself had been inspired. So she teamed up with Ben Huggins to create site-specific, geometric nuggets that had to fit a very particular brief.
With no electric or services, any shelter was always going to be an intense, purposeful space with no modern distractions, somewhere to just be. Somewhere to be away. Somewhere to become.
The shelters were to be thoughtfully designed, intent on making you more aware of your environment, opening your eyes to the minutia of the world around you, helping you let go and surrender yourself to the place so you can become more present. Time stands still. You sleep better than you ever have. You can be alone. Or you can interact with others.
The facilities here are communal; a community has been built where the people are transient, flitting in and out of the shared spaces, briefly bringing together cultures and experiences from around the world – guests come from far flung places to experience this gentle way of life. Fried by technology in their modern world, they come to switch off from always being on, to feel safe, be raw, share stories and open their minds – being off-grid in this way lets the place determine how you go about the day; you’re no longer the priority in this world, you have to live by nature’s rules. Go to bed when it gets dark, find your way without directions, re-learn a lost wisdom by trusting your instincts and get in tune with an ancient rhythm.
This leads me on to Kudhva’s mantras of Architectural Hideouts in Unexpected Places;
Kudhva’s Experience Principles
Off grid conversations
These are the things that Louise wants you to feel when you stay here and to take away with you - some interesting concepts that all point to you being your best you. That’s why it suits the live/work experiment – Louise is fascinated with how this way of living affects you and so started running ‘artist in residences’ with filmmakers, authors, photographers and even a sustainable fashion designer who makes clothes from recycled tents. Each were interviewed before and after their stay to monitor how the place had changed them. The lack of modern technology forced them to put down their machinery and use their hands again, reconnecting them with their craft and forcing them to be even more creative to get over the hurdles that stripped back living presents.
Now the Kudhva Experience extends to what they call their Sunday Service, the first Sunday of every month put aside to ‘bask in the Kingdom of Kudhva’ – sounds immense. And even better it’s a day-party open to all, not just guests. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of the site to the sound of guest DJs, the taste of tasty local food and wash it all down by the pop-up bar. Bliss.
I don’t think I can sell this place to you any more. I think you’ve got the vibe by now. So, where do you want to stay?