While camping up in Oregon over the fourth of July weekend, I realized when lying on my back in my tent that I wasn't really fulfilling my fervent outdoorsy wish to 'sleep beneath the stars,' because I couldn't...see the stars. When I returned to civilization last week, my twitter feed informed me of a modern, prefab answer to my dilemma: the Carré d'Etoiles.
Albeit slightly less down-to-earth than my teepee from R.E.I., this 'Box of Stars' is intended to be a comfortable alternative tourist hideaway that boasts its own mini-observatory and sky observation kit (refracted telescope, star chart, and astronomy games)! In this tiny shed-like cube, they've managed to squish accommodations for four, including a kitchenette with refridgerator, sink, and two hotplates, flat screen TV, and even a bathroom with shower.
Apparently, the creators, Louis & Nathalie Blanco from France, are honing in on the lesser-exploited niche of hotel prefab—they describe the Carré d'Etoiles as "a new type of sustainable tourism by developing concepts combining accommodation that lets you get closer to nature, and high quality hotel services."
The website also describes its environmentally friendly qualities: bio-ethanol chimneys, recyclable wood structures (?), and two units that can be transported on a flatbed and installed with a forklift. I imagine a design that is intended to 'let you get closer to nature' would have larger outdoor views than the head-size circle windows (outlined in one of seven colors), but the stargazing-friendly skylight right above the bed is much appreciated. This little box does make me want to 'Set out and conquer the stars'—if only I had enough money for an extra vacation home.