Originally born out of necessity for shelter in high alpine farms, these ancient farm houses inspire a new style of alpine living. While chalet exteriors may continue to be made of traditional timber, the Swiss love of innovation and modern style emerges in exquisite interior design.
London-based designer Nicky Dobree specialises in chalet interiors with a reputation for luxurious comfort and harmony. Her designs span the Swiss Alps from St. Moritz and Gstaad to Klosters, and Crans-Montana. The natural interiors draw on wooden beams enhanced with stone walls and custom-made furniture with layers of texture and splashes of colour to bring in the perfect touch.
“Inspiration can come from anywhere,” Dobree says. “A chalet though should always be grounded by its location, reference its surroundings, and be inspired by its landscape. In my designs I try to embrace local ideas, work with the local materials, source local crafts and antiques to give the chalet a sense of place and above all, create a home.” Dobree’s design in St. Moritz inspires a sense of playfulness and fun using collector’s pieces such as the bronze life-sized shaggy sheep that stands in the entrance beside the colourful sushi steel credenza by the Campagna Brothers. In Gstaad, the homeowners’ art collection became the focal point, with a contemporary sculpture of the Buddha by Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso displayed prominently as an East meets West theme emerged.
Related article: 24 Hours in Zurich
Wellness continues to be a trend for 2018 and beyond according to Dobree. “Clients are increasingly interested in how to make their chalets not just a holiday destination, but also a place to ‘get better’, to rid themselves of the stresses of modern day living. Along with the in-house chalet spa, there is an increased interest in eating better. Now next to the coffee and tea making station there is a designated juicing area being incorporated into the kitchen too. Some are even exploring growing their own vegetables.” More chalet owners also focus on eco-friendliness by using solar energy and incorporate ways to conserve water used by showers and toilets.
Dreams and colour inspire Swiss-Italian interior designer, Carlo Rampazzi’s work. Based in Ascona in the Tessin, he combines rich pops of colour with varied textures to create a unique Swiss-Italian aesthetic. I discovered Rampazzi’s designs while travelling to a luxury ski resort in Arosa. The designs were so intriguing that I wanted to know more. Rampazzi says that he aims to give a sense of significance to the individual, so that clients feel they are made important by the surroundings, not diminished. “This is the contrary to what happens most in life where we’re treated as a mass of individuals – with a sameness, undistinguished from the larger, somewhat mechanical modern mass of humanity,” Rampazzi says.
Rampazzi aims to take homeowners’ dreams and bring them alive in vibrant colours. “Winters are white with snow,” he says. “So it’s important to create a warm contrast that recalls colours of Indian summer, leaves turning orange and red.” His designs blend textures and fabrics to create spaces that step beyond trends and feel timeless. Born and raised in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, Rampazzi says he listens deeply to individuals and shapes an interior that reflects them. “I do a sort of therapy with clients,” he says. “The outside world has a strong pull toward the negative. But people need a positive space to thrive in, a space where they can feel positive, experience the beauty, and feel like they are in a happy dream. I seek to create spaces so that people who travel or go to work feel pleased to return home. So they will feel satisfied and content to open the door and be in a happy home, in a house that fits them.”
Related article: Design Week Feature: Future Nostalgias
Chalet Béranger, designed by French-born Noé Duchaufour Lawrance, defies everything about the traditional mountain chalet except the location in the mountains. This contemporary space grew from an existing stone and timber structure that respects the exterior elements of the original chalet while opening up the inside spaces with vast windows and spacious rooms. Burnished concrete, sleek curves and light bring the focus to function and form while providing an urban feel. A fireplace arcs up from the concrete floor to become the focal point of the family room and sloped wooden ceilings of grey fir add sleek lines to create a contemporary feel.
Related article: The Swiss Alps and Landscape: A Guide
For more ideas on Do, Dine, and Spend, visit our Destinations page.