"I can‘t hear it anymore"

Chalet, Schweiz

Services Deutsche Werkstätten:
Interior Outfitting, Project Management

Completion 2013


It is a peculiarity of Deutsche Werkstätten that we know when we sign almost every contract that with the approaching project we will have to deal with tasks which we have never previously faced. What can induce others to break out in cold sweat is routine for us. Don’t get us wrong: Sometimes it would be very nice if we knew at the beginning of a project, how to achieve the goal. On the other hand you learn an incredible amount when you constantly have to be open to new situations. And you can be proud when you have mastered the challenge.
In our first project in Switzerland for example, we learned what it means to set up a construction site for the winter months at an altitude of about 2000 metres. The site is also situated on a narrow street with no parking and as, at the peak, significantly more than 160 craftsmen from eight nations were working in the chalet in the Engadine region, it was a logistical challenge to get these people to the construction site every morning and back again in the evening. A local taxi company that we entrusted with this task, was delighted with the unexpected growth in turnover ...
As the creation of infrastructure such as the construction of a container fortress or setting up security monitoring systems on the construction site is not directly related to the subject of interior design, you might have already guessed that we were also responsible as overall project direction in this case. Our ability to offer large construction projects from a single source makes us even more special in a defined market such as Switzerland and sets us apart from our competitors.
Here it meant that in addition to the previously mentioned requirements for the site set up we, in consultation with the renowned French designer Jacques Garcia as well as the local architects, carried out the entire execution planning and engineering for the chalet which covers five floors and is largely "underground". Jaques Garcia’s aim was to design interiors that exhibit a mixture of chateau flair and alpine atmosphere. This was achieved partially by using historical materials such as 200 year old wood and natural stone floors or the wooden facades from Engadine barns. In addition, skins, heavy fabrics and carpets were used as well as spruce, for example, for the massive doors. The historic appearance was also contributed to by 22 French painters who in painstaking work imitated fine wood structures, for example in the living room. Overall, we coordinated 13 trades - from to the drywalling and cooling ceiling specialists to the antique mirror manufacturer. And the interior design and on-site installation was, of course, carried out by Deutsche Werkstätten.
A challenging and way too short eight and a half months was the time we had available to furnish the 160 rooms and 3,500 m² of chalet. In purely mathematical terms, this meant every day and a half we had to finish a room. In our follow-up project, just a stone's throw away, we have more time as we were brought on board early. For our project manager, this means further months with the long commute between Dresden and the Engadine. And either acquiring Buddhist serenity - or earplugs. Even during the building and furnishing phase of the first chalet every now and then he lost his patience in the comfortable train that winds through the Alps and through 56 tunnels. Every time the announcement came with the Swiss idiom which keeps indicating that "the view from the window can lead to disorientation…", he exclaimed: "I can’t hear it anymore."


Text: Deutsche Werkstätten
Photo: Anja Wippich