Refuge Tonneau: Cassina's 1930s Pod Home Looks Like a Futuristic Space Shuttle

by Lidija Grozdanic, 02/24/14

The Cassina Refuge Tonneau is a cozy mountain lodge like leisure building designed by Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret in 1938. The futurist spaceship-like structure was inspired by children’s fairground rides: Perriand conceived the shelter as a metal shell with a central pole, similar to a carousel.


Cassina design, Refuge Tonneau, mountain shelter, mountain shelter vintage, 1930s shelter design, lightweight shelter, futuristic design, retro futuristic homes, tiny homes, that can go in your garden or other outdoor space. Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret

The shelter has a dodecahedron structure which was ahead of its times and was used in the Antarctic in 2002 and at the Mars Society Desert Research Station in 2011. The structure is lightweight and easy to assemble. Although it might look uninviting from the outside, the shelter’s interior looks like a cozy mountain log cabin. The shape was chosen to provide stability on uneven land, while the pinewood interior give warmth and a natural feel to the space.

The interior has two single beds on the lower level, a heater positioned inside the central steel pillar, a small kitchen and a shelf for a camping stove and space for food. The single beds are foldable-the designers used the same system as the one found in sleeper cars on trains at that time, and can be used as seating. Like a proper mountain home, the shelter has a rack for skies near the front door and a drip tray underneath it.

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