This century has brought about a heightened awareness of sustainability as people reflect on the pace of overconsumption. How has this influenced your design concept?
Sustainability is a huge topic in design and architecture. Every design decision we make, we put through a 'sustainability' filter first. We ask ourselves all sorts of questions: how is the material going to age? Where does it come from? Who can produce it and where can it be produced? Will it gain or lose its aesthetic value in, let’s say, 20 years?
In this project, we chose mostly natural and timeless materials. It doesn’t necessarily mean less, as I don’t always think a minimalistic approach is the right approach – especially when you want to tell a story.
A sustainable approach is visible in every aspect of the hotel: natural amenities are offered in bigger, re-fillable bottles, local food and wine suppliers stock our restaurant and bar, our smart kitchen concept reduces food waste, and we provide refillable glass bottles to our guests for our thermal water station.
How much influence did the direct surroundings have on the hotel’s design?
The story of the site itself inspired me the most. The hotel is a former health resort from the 60s. Instead of trying to erase its past, we chose to continue telling its story. We saw great opportunity in its bones: a spacious lobby connected with the restaurant, good size rooms, a big outdoor area.
The interior concept is based on a combination of geographical and historical context. I would describe it as an alpine resort design with a 60s nostalgia. The design language, from the colour palette to the materials and forms, is strongly connected with the site and its history.
Bad Gastein has regained its popularity in recent years. Why do you think that Bad Gastein needs another Design Hotel?
Make no mistake – the potential of Bad Gastein has been rediscovered. We are not the front-runners here. But we want to contribute to it. We want to tell a different story.
We offer a harmonic guest experience. The whole concept – from the colour of a napkin through to the interior design and architecture – we see as one piece. There is no place for coincidence. In terms of special features, our indoor pool has most probably the most scenic views of Bad Gastein valley.
What does happiness mean to you?
Being able to do what you love, be loved and be able to love.