VILLA IN A FAIRY TALE
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH GENERAL MANAGER OF SAAREMAA HOUSES
“Wooden houses have always given people a unique feeling. Each wooden house is like a “little forest”.”— Sophie Fei, General Manager of Saaremaa Houses
When it comes to Christmas, I am often reminded of the scenes in a fairy tale: stepping into a Nordic country deep in the snow, through one and another woods with snow-covered trails; at the end of the forest, there is a small wooden hut, where the flame is lurking in the fireplace, and a family gathers around it fireplace to tell Christmas stories…
If the wooden houses in the fairy tale become a reality, what kind of alternative experience will be offered to the travellers who are staying there? This time, I am honoured to invite Miss Sophie Fei, General Manager of Saaremaa Houses, one of the top three wooden house manufacturing companies in the world to discuss the luxury wooden houses in modern fairy tales.
Q: Please give us an introduction of Saaremaa Group.
A: Saaremaa Group is a company of the Tuule Group. Our main businesses include production of prefabricated wood structures, shipping and cruise lines, engineering construction, real estate development, etc. We have also established our own company in Hong Kong.
Q: The development of the huts industry is relatively mature in European countries and the United States. Based on your observation, what is the outlook for (wooden houses) in the mainland China market?
A: We are pretty optimistic about the prospects of the Chinese wooden house industry. On the one hand, China’s land policy offers many opportunities for development; on the other hand, as the citizens’ standard of living has been upgraded, public’s awareness of environmental protection has also increased. In fact, the wood used in the wooden house can be recycled and used to build new houses or other uses, which would not pollute the environment. I believe everyone will be more and more fond of the wooden house.
Q: Nordic wooden houses have their own unique cultural characteristics. When you bring Nordic-designed wooden houses to China, how would you integrate both Nordic and Eastern cultures?
A: In fact, how to “integrate East and West” is indeed an issue confronting us. As such, we have set up the China-Europe Design Centre, which is not only a platform for Chinese and European designers to conduct exchanges, but also allows us to get feedback from customers on their after-use experience so that we can better understand the habits and preferences of customers.
Q: There are many traditional five-star hotels on the market. How can wooden villas offer guests different experiences?
A: Wooden houses have always given people a unique feeling. Each wooden house is like a “little forest”. Inside such a structure, you will discover a close feeling with nature. The house not only exudes the scent of the wood (the “age” of the wood we select for building is more than 55 years), it contains no harmful substances, such as, formaldehyde. Besides, the touch and sound insulation is very good, living there is as if you have brought the forest back home. In addition, each design from the building to the decoration stages can also be customised so as to make the wooden house appear modern and stylish.
Q: You are working on some wooden house projects in “The Cliff Village”. Can you elaborate more on that?
A: The wooden houses are located at “The Cliff Village” at 2,500 metres above sea level. It takes a five-hour drive on a buggy, or it can be reached by helicopter. Perhaps many people will be curious to ask: “Is it safe to build a wooden house at an altitude of 2,500 metres?” In fact, there are no terrain restrictions on the construction of wooden houses, which can be built on mountains or trees. Additionally, the wood we use is very resistant to earthquakes and is also resistant to wind and moisture.
Q: Will Saaremaa enter the Hong Kong market in the future?
A: We have set up a China-Europe Centre in Hong Kong, which is responsible for project design and planning. In the future, we plan to list in Hong Kong.