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NXTLVL Experience Design

Episode 36: Caspar Schols

Into The Woods With Cabin ANNA with Caspar Schols, Creator – Cabin ANNA




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Caspar Schols used to sleep under the stars with his family when he was a boy. His mother Anna wanted a small cabin for her back yard so that she could be in nature. So, Caspar set aside his pursuit of a career in physics and built one for her.

What happened next is remarkable.

Publications, design awards, an invitation to study at the AA in London and a new life path bringing us back to nature through an extraordinary cabin that physically transforms and breathes in the forest air while guests sleep under the stars.


Caspar’s LinkedIn profile:







Cabin ANNA is created by Dutch designer Caspar Schols, who design and built the first cabin for his mother. Without any architectural education, but with a fascination for architecture and design, he was looking for a concept to bring people closer to nature.


Cabin ANNA won various awards, among which the prestigious Architizer A+ Project of the Year Award 2021, one of the world’s largest awards program for architecture and building-products. Cabin ANNA’s mission now is to structurally connect every human being with nature once again.


Are Physics and nature different things?

I suppose they aren’t given that all things in nature, the universe, are bound by the laws of physics.

So maybe it’s not so surprising that a young physicist, who loved architecture – also bound by the laws of physics – should find himself in the position of a major career path change when asked by his mother to build a small cabin in her back yard so that she could be in nature.

Not a place to necessarily do something in nature but ‘be’ in nature, to experience it, connect with it, and get back to it, in a profoundly embodied way.


There is a Dutch term for what she wanted to do – Niksen “nik-suhn” – it’s a noun that means:

“…the practice of doing nothing as a means of relieving stress; idle activity, as staring into the trees or listening to music, with no purpose other than relaxation.”

She could spend all day in the backyard, relaxing but noticing all of the details – birds, sounds of wind and birds, shapes of leaves on tress, passing of the clouds, changes in the quality of light…

As a young boy he too felt deeply connected to nature. With his family, he had slept out under the stars, exposed the elements, but connected with the universe and protected by his family who slept beside him.

With a budget of 20,000 Euros, Caspar Schols set off to design and build Cabin ANNA. Which by the way takes its name from his mother.

Cabin Anna does more than just physically transform engaging the inhabitants to live different experiences in varying degrees of connectedness with nature. It expands as if taking a deep breath, opening up to the elements allowing the interior to become at one with the exterior. You can literally sleep under the stars as Caspar once did as a young boy.

It is both simple and impeccably detailed, everything counts.

It is beautiful and balanced so that nothing can be added or taken away but for the worse. And with a gentle but deliberate push its envelope slides open along beautifully engineered tracks like shedding your clothes to bathe in nature.

For Caspar, Cabin ANNA it is not really about increasing space, but about changing space, changing atmosphere, changing utility and always about bringing us back to nature and the laws of the universe and where we stand among the stars.

Cabin ANAA is Fallingwater, Phillip Johnson’s or Meis Van Der Rohe’s glass houses, Henry David Thoreau’s cabin in the woods and a Transformer all in one.

For many of us Caspar suggests, “… this requires a different attitude, you have to be willing to change your customs, how you live…” Being in, and with, nature is a way of living from which modern society has immerged.

Cabin ANNA is an invitation to remember where we have come from.



David Kepron is a multifaceted creative professional with a deep curiosity to understand ‘why’, ‘what’s now’ and ‘what’s next’. He brings together his background as an architect, artist, educator, author, podcast host and builder to the making of meaningful and empathically-focused, community-centric customer connections at brand experience places around the globe.

David is a former VP – Global Design Strategies at Marriott International. While at Marriott, his focus was on the creation of compelling customer experiences within Marriott’s “Premium Distinctive” segment which included: Westin, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels and Gaylord hotels.

In 2020 Kepron founded NXTLVL Experience Design, a strategy and design consultancy, where he combines his multidisciplinary approach to the creation of relevant brand engagements with his passion for social and cultural anthropology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies.

As a frequently requested international speaker at corporate events and international conferences focusing on CX, digital transformation, retail, hospitality, emerging technology, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising, hotel design and strategy as well as creativity and innovation. In his talks, David shares visionary ideas on how brand strategy, brain science and emerging technologies are changing guest expectations about relationships they want to have with brands and how companies can remain relevant in a digitally enabled marketplace.

David currently brings his creativity and insight on brand experiences to an international audience as a member of VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, as a Board Member of the Interactive Customer Experience Association (ICXA) and Sign Research Foundation’s (SRF) Program Committee.

He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore.

In 2014 Kepron published his first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World” and he is currently working on his second book to be published soon. David also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on

In September of 2020, he launched the “NXTLVL Experience Design” podcast which brings listeners dialogues about “DATA: Design, Architecture, Technology and the Arts.” His guests include thought leaders who are driven by a passion to create the ‘New Possible’ and promote new paradigms of experiences into the mainstream.



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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