Blog post

Experiencing the Okra – The Latest Design from Jason Thawley of Tree Tents

July 25, 2020

I was first introduced to Jason Thawley last summer during a stay at the Secret Campsite near Lewes. Site owner Tim Bullen had arranged for us to experience a night in their incredible spherical Tree Tent shelter designed and created by Jason in his workshop also based at the Secret Campsite. I was really inspired by the passion and dedication shown by both Jason and Tim in their desire to create spaces and structures that work harmoniously with nature while allowing guests to experience nature in its purest form.

Through the Tree Tents brand Jason has been able to create a range of unique structures using sustainable materials, all capable of existing harmoniously along-side their environment and wildlife while maintaining a true sense of luxury, comfort and practicality. The results speak for themselves.

His current range of structures include the Fuselage and Okra in addition to the original Tree Tent design – all striking in appearance yet perfectly suited to their wild spaces thanks to Jason’s blend of innovative design and traditional craftsmanship. When I was invited back to the Secret Campsite to check out the Okra I jumped at the chance, excited to discover what new concepts this stunning, veg inspired pod have up its sleeve.

Our Okra Experience

The Okra is currently located in a wildflower paddock just behind the tent pitches at the Secret Campsite. Surrounded by long grasses, teasel, apple trees and thistles the Okra looks right at home in these natural surroundings. 

The structure is immediately striking with it’s wood panelled pentagonal rear, drawing interest and comments from fellow campers by as they pass by. Having been influenced by the exotic vegetable the Okra is certainly unique in appearance. On approaching the large, glass doors at the front we’re greeted with our first glimpse of the interior through sun ray shaped glass panels. 

The interior is much larger than you’d expect – with the whole room absolutely bathing in light thanks to the sun beam window. My children were immediately drawn to the double bunk up a set of sturdy wooden steps. There’s a further double bed underneath the bunk tucked behind a funky, blue internal divide.

The living space consists of a lounge area with a large sofa plus an area for food prep and storage which includes a small cooking hob. Next to this near the entrance hangs Jason’s innovative floating stove which uses bio-organic fuel creating a really clean and efficient heating system – no more chopping logs, sooty chimneys – or the need for a chimney at all!

The Okra was an absolute joy to stay in. Beautiful design and attention to detail is evident everywhere you look – from the poplar ceiling paneling to the mountain silhouettes on the wood chip interior.

Everything in this structure has a purpose and a place, having been lovingly crafted to compliment and enhance the organic design of the structure. The space allows you to feel close to the outdoors whether you’re sat on the sofa reading in the sunlight, relaxing on the decking with the doors swung open or lying in bed listening to the dawn chorus through the bedside porthole window. The Okra is fun, attractive, practical and comfortable yet still embraces a sense of adventure and the outdoors. Another absolute winner from Jason in my opinion.

Okra Dining Pod

Since the pandemic Jason has been working on using the Okra as a concept for a dining pod project. Using the same distinct pentagonal design the Okra dining pod works as an attractive solution to socially distanced dining. Perfect for any corporate hospitality setting. There’s even an option to fit heated seat pads!

More about the Okra and Tree Tents

Guests will be able to stay in the Okra at the Secret Campsite from 2021. The Okra can be ordered to a range of specifications. If you’d like to find out more about the full range of models and sizes available please visit the Tree Tents website here

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