Call it natural selection, but when landscape design firm Garden Club London was invited to participate in the 2022 Chelsea Flower Show, a prestigious outdoor gala in London’s Chelsea neighborhood, its team called on Koto.
“Garden Club, and particularly [managing director] Tony Woods, was looking for a partner that could deliver a truly sustainable and sculptural element to their plans,” says Zoë Little, cofounder of Koto, a prefab design company from the UK that creates geometric black cabins.
Little and her associates implemented their usual timber and glass to craft an entirely carbon-neutral hideaway in their striking “Japandi” style. The black exterior cladding is shou sugi ban, the Japanese wood-charring process that makes the envelope resistant to weather, fire, and pests. Inside, the roughly 140-square-foot interior is finished in a lighter wood reminiscent of Scandinavian design. Furniture curated by Menu provides a place to relax next to a Morsø wood-burning fireplace.
The goal, says Little, is for flower show attendees to take respite in the shade of the cabin without losing sight of the surrounds. “We hope that visitors can see how garden rooms can be beautiful and functional,” she adds.
Known as Garden Sanctuary the indoor/outdoor exhibition, sponsored by estate agent Hamptons, will be open to the public from May 23 through May 28 at the Royal Hospital. “The garden is designed to take us out of our homes, let us decompress, play, and reconnect,” says Little. “The structural cabin also aims to counterbalance the softness of pollinating plants and densely planted trees.”
Outside of the flower show, Koto hopes the cabin, priced at $75,000, will appeal to folks looking to implement their own backyard getaway. “Garden Club wanted it to be a truly multifunctional space that tackles the needs of people working from home who also want somewhere for contemplation and relaxation,” says Little.