Life in perfect harmony: bringing the outdoors in with Koto and Ruark Audio

Temperatures are rising, songbirds are singing and with hopefully plenty more warm days ahead, we’re spending more time outside. Or, trying to bring a taste of the great outdoors into our homes, at least.

Bridging the gap between inside and out is something Koto, an architectural and design studio specialising in modular delivery, strive to do with every bespoke home or cabin they create. The company recently exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in collaboration with Garden Club London - and we were delighted to find the Ruark R1 taking pride of place inside their gold medal-winning cabin.

The cabin - which has been meticulously designed to complement its surroundings - serves as a place of work, meditation, contemplation, and as an immersive space to connect with nature. The result is a breath-taking marriage of the outdoors and luxurious living, with charred timber and large glass panels that let natural light flood in, connecting the outside and inside together and allowing the cabin to exist in perfect harmony with the surrounding garden.

Ruark Audio R1 inside cabin by Koto at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

As Koto co-founder Zoë Little explained to us, the seamless transition from outdoors to indoors is a result of careful planning. “We wanted it to be a multifunctional space that could be used as either a yoga room or a home office or a studio,” she says.

Meanwhile, the Garden Club London team designed the garden to perfectly complement the cabin - right down to the placement of flowers. “We haven’t done that before in that kind of detail,” Zoë explains. “It was absolutely amazing to see it come together.”

As striking as it looks from the outside, the cabin’s interior was just as important to Zoë and the rest of the team as its exterior - to the point that the paint inside was colour-matched to the bark of the trees outside.

“We didn’t want to compete with the garden at all,” she tells us. “We normally bring lots of plants into our interiors, but we didn’t want to do that in this case.” Instead, the inside of the cabin was designed to feel minimalist - but crucially, as if it was lived in. “We kept it as though somebody had just left the room. We had coffee brewing, a fire going, and music on, so it felt like the space wasn’t just for show,” she explains.

Providing the music was the Ruark R1, which Zoë told us “ticked all of Koto’s boxes”. “I just love the design of it - and for our cabins, we needed something compact because space was limited. And, from a design perspective the R1 is super cute, and works really well with our Scandi minimal vibe,” she says.

Cabin by Koto at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Having a source of music in the cabin was crucial to create a calming atmosphere. “The brief was to create a sort of sanctuary. Having some soft music playing in there with a fire going… you know, it’s kind of dreamy, with all those senses being used. It’s just so lovely to enter a room and hear music. It allows you to mentally switch off and just add to that feeling of calm,” she explains.

For Zoë, that sense of zen is best evoked by the likes of musician Matthew Halsall, whose blend of jazz, world music, and electronica provides the perfect backdrop to working and relaxing. Her fellow co-founder and husband Jonathan is much more interested in old school hip-hop, according to Zoë - that’s his choice when in control of the playlist.

Trees and flowesr outside cabin by Koto at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The music of relaxation or ‘zen’ clearly means different things to different people. If you’d like to dive into a zen state of mind, we’ve put together a playlist that’ll hopefully provide a sense of calm, and perhaps soundtrack those long summer nights ahead.

Ruark × Koto ‘Relax’ playlist

kotodesign.co.uk