Alpine bistro disappears into the dramatic Dolomite landscape

Bistro Bergsteiger / Hotel Dolomitenhof GmbH - Sesto, Italy

Nestled amid the UNESCO Natural Heritage area of the Dolomites in Sesto, Italy, Bistro Bergsteiger is the latest project from architectural firl Studio Plasma, designed for the Hotel Dolomitenhof GmbH. Italian architectural studio, Studio Plasma is well known for drawing landscapes into buildings and interior spaces, folding space into space from outside in. Spaces, planes and bodies can be transformed into unforeseen relationships, challenging conventional topographies. Their work is one of an architectural trajectory and momentum; responding to the specifies of local contexts, as we see with the Bistro Bergsteiger.

Designed and created in a dialogue between the owners, descendants of Michl and Sepp Innerkofler, mountaineering pioneers, parts of the interior design feature historical documentation of their first mountainous ascent. Such dialogue between context and modernization allows the project to appropriately revitalize life into a building that might otherwise have disappeared amongst the beauty of the mountains.

Located along a well-known hiking trail, the restaurant is beautifully inserted into the existing landscape, almost vanishing amid its snow-capped surroundings. The views from the entrance of the valley stretch across the picturesque mountainous landscape and the architects were therefore thoughtful to not impact the view of the landscape, thus creating a structure that was low and unassuming. Neither does it visually interfere with the remainder of the heritage-protected hotel building.

The new volume of the Bistro Bergsteiger aligns with the existing building, whilst the reduced heights allow it to be connected to the southern elevation. The result is an architecture structure that is appropriate to the Dolomites of Sesto and will continue to boast its character throughout the changing seasons.

The dimensions of Bistro Bergsteiger are reduced as much as possible, with the geometries adapting to the existing building and location sites. The rich olive green double-pitched roof is beautifully juxtaposed with dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing guests to enjoy uninterrupted views across the alpine landscape. The green contrasts nicely with the natural timber used throughout the interior of the bistro, offering a palette very similar to the mountains that surround the building; reminding visitors of the protected site the building sits on.

The interior features a main dining room and comprises of, a counter, open entrance, two large dining rooms and access to the large outdoor terrace. Each area is defined in order to provide a casual environment that is both intimate and serene. The architectural consideration of the difference in height between the floors provides stunning views across the mountain landscape. A glass feature wall separates the interior space from the large exterior timber terrace, which can be opened in good weather.

The bistrot is inspired by the nearby existing structure and is built using larch timber cladding, which reinterprets the old decorative motif, while giving it a modern appeal. The interior features the use of exposed screed, made from locally sourced materials such as Dolomite stone and sand. The decision to incorporate Dolomite stone and local larch timber enhances relations between the updated bistrot and connects the building with the natural environment around it, allowing guests to fully submerse themselves in the localities of the Dolomites.

Form and organization of space are political tools for Plasma Studio. Their ethos is to generate an “architecture that authentically reflects and houses contemporary social life,” with an emphasis of providing “generous and indiscriminate opportunities to an increasingly contradictory, ubiquitous atomized society.”

Technical sheet

Type Hospitality, Interior
Status Commission, Built
Location Sexten, Italy
Year 2021
Client Hotel Dolomitenhof GmbH
Design team Eva Castro, Niccolò Dal Farra, Ulla Hell, Holger Kehne, Giulia Mariotti, Irene Mutschlechner, Peter Pichler, Chuan Wang
Collaborators Team 4, Klaus Seeber
Photo credit Florian Jaenicke

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