Herzog & de Meuron like wood and repetition. And they use it quite well. There are some good examples that can show their skills designing simple and functional spaces only with the essential pieces. Chäserrugg Restaurant is another excellent example, a wood alpine shelter with almost nothing else than a thousand chairs to sit and enjoy the awesome panoramic wiew of the Alps at 2.260m of altitude.
Choosing a chair in Chäserrugg Restaurant can be difficult, the other 999 have an awesome view too
Chäserrugg Restaurant sits in Unterwasser, over the base of an old 70s concrete structure which belonged the old cable car station of the Chäserrugg peak. The restaurant, placed in a perpendicular volume which benefits from the views, is now connected with the current station by a covered area, which is used as the main entrance. Over this old structure, a new façade has been designed, made in solid fir wood treated by artisans from the valley, as it was important to remind the local tradition. Having a rational explotation of resources was important too, so all the materials where carried to the site with the regular trips of the teleferic, with the exception of the crane, which was transported by helicopter.
A long and flexible space with low ceiling supported by columns runs in paralell with the covered terrace, actually the most important element, with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Tables and benches run in one side, one window for each, so every place has its own framed view of the mountains. Giving the importance of chairs in the design, after conversations with the property and Christine Binswanger, senior partner in Herzog & de Meuron studio, they chose the Chair B designed by Konstantin Grcicy and produced by BD Barcelona Design.
Chair B, Silver DELTA Price in 2011, is a wooden piece with small aluminium parts in its structure. With X-shaped legs and an abatable seat, the genius detail hidden under the seat allows all chairs to be piled in horizontal, which helps saving space. Although it can be manufactured in a wide range of colours, the model chosen was in simple wooden finish, so it goes in harmony with the space and turns Chäserrugg Restaurant into the perfect place to enjoy a meal with an Alps view.
Photographs: Katalin Deér