Mountain home wins Red Dot Award

The compact holiday house is located on the shore of Lake Czorsztyn HOLA Design

A “mountain cottage” in southern Poland has won the prestigious Red Dot Award – the Oscar of the design world.

The compact holiday house is located on the shore of Lake Czorsztyn, a man-made reservoir in southern Poland, between the Pieniny and the Gorce mountains, near the border with Slovakia. Rather than disrupt the landscape, the cottage is designed to emphasise its rugged charm. 

Built of natural materials – dark gables made of aspen chips on the outside, lighter wood on the inside – it is in sync with the surrounding area. The sloping roof merges with the outside walls, yielding a streamlined silhouette. Large windows bring the outside in. Outside, a simple wooden porch looks out onto the lake and two medieval castles, offering spectacular breakfast views.

The house is the work of HOLA Design, a Polish architectural studio designing both buildings and interiors, with offices in Warsaw and Gdynia. The studio, run by Monika and Adam Bronikowski, has previously won other international prizes, including the European Property Awards and the German Design Award. Its interiors, predominantly sleek urban apartments in Warsaw and other cities, feature an abundance of light, mellowed by natural wooden accents.  

Though modern in form, the house harks back to traditional dwellings, echoing elements of 19th Century buildings situated nearby. Downstairs, an open-plan kitchen and living area is wrapped around a wood-burning stove. 

The cosy interior features subtle references to Polish folk design, included carved shapes on the front door and stairs leading upstairs. The kitchen wall is decorated with a local folk symbol, the “flower of life”, cut from steel. On the first floor, the vaulted-ceiling master bedroom looks out onto the lake. The cottage also has two children’s bedrooms, and a guest room in the basement. Underfloor heating ensures that everyone’s feet stay warm, even as winter sets in.