Alpine resorts usually tend to conjure up images of open log fires, hot chocolate and an abundance of rustic charm. So what if this traditional and serene environment was turned on its head and the whole ski resort experience became a prolonged rush and adrenaline overload? In an exciting collaboration between Audi AG and the Obergl-Hochgurgl Ski-Lift Company, traditional alpine associations have been given a modern twist where alpine design has been amplified and the rush felt whilst whizzing down a slope, has been replicated through a design that makes the heart skip a beat. Courtesy of Designliga, a bureau for visual communication and interior design, founded in Munich in 2001 by product designer Saša Stanojcic and communication designer Andreas Döhring, the end result is a skilled juxtaposition of the most attractive and inviting elements traditionally found in the best alpine resorts but with high-tech automotive design that’s as forward thinking as the latest automotive technology.
So what exactly is this resort and how did it come about? The story is set in what's known as 'the diamond of the (Austrian) Alps' where Audi is showcasing their all wheel drive and integrated technology in a 'quattro experience' created by Obergl-Hochgurgl. The Quattro Festkogl Alm itself (which opened in December 2013) is situated in the most central point of this well renowned ski area famous for its high altitudes and guaranteed snow; the perfect setting to showcase sleek contemporary experiences to jack that heart rate up, and for a number of reasons.
Ambitious and extreme from the outset, with severe conditions adding to the challenge, renovations began shortly before the start of the ski season. Situated at an altitude of 2650m, the Festkogl Alm had a number of logistical mountains to climb combined with the fact that the Alm had to continue operating throughout the building process. The end result showcases the presence of the pioneering automotive giant that is Audi which has been captured in the bold architecture, clean geometry and streamlined aesthetic usually associated with the automobile giant: Audi rings on the parapet dominate throughout the terrace reaching a culmination on the facade. Materials originally used for lightweight automotive applications have also been given a new format; cutting edge and futuristic, their impact is powerful, with matte-finished anodised aluminium offering a welcome more akin to a bold but friendly slap on the back rather than a reserved handshake.
This isn’t some sort of shiny futuristic Bladerunner future vision either. At the Festkogl Alm you'll find innovative yet thoughtful design that's covered all manner of details. Sympathetic to its surroundings, the design also incorporates traditional elements such as wood pannelling and beams making for some bold contrasts with the metal that ensures this resort doesn’t look out of place in its striking location but still offers something new. The sort of bold graphics and angular lines that you'd usually associate with an urban environment are really allowed to pop resulting in a stunningly severe design which looks fresh because it offers a new perspective. The meeting of such strong modern design with more traditional features such as the heating stove and heritage hut interior elements catch the eye, forcing you to put aside preconceptions as you take in the unexpected combinations of the design features. Additional high output LEDs cast a warm light on the bold interior, further highlighting and illuminating the differences between old and new in a welcoming glow.
Externally the minimal patios, with their bold RED paint work, feel austere and strong but once inside there’s a more homely evolution of the overall design with the faceted metal walls providing bold contrasts in the dining spaces. Their open plan layout encourage you to take in a new environment that feels simultaneously transformed and non-transformed, traditional and modern; referential and futuristic even.
The layout further adds to a sense of order and continuity making this somewhere you want to relax and explore the information on Audi's pioneering technology. Functioning as a showcase for Audi technology without seeming overly corporate or like a sales exhibit, traditional elements keep the aesthetic subtle. Wandering around the refreshing space, intuitive details slowly emerge. Case in point, instead of a traditional stag’s head, the stove features a 3D model of a gecko - the symbol of Quattro’s technology. Old Audi adverts hang where you might expect to see old paintings or photographs. On the tables, coloured dots mimic the glass outside and transform into interactive ‘media tables’ on which you can view further Quattro clips as well as access the latest information on the skiing area, or view interactive plans of the pistes and up-to-date weather information with forecasts for the next few days. With so much information in such a stimulating setting, the endorphins begin to flow giving you the feeling of a kid in a sweetshop. But what you're looking at is better than any sugar rush.
This is a collaboration that's all about thrills, speed, the future and the realisation of pioneering design. Because when innovation meets even more innovation, something that makes you excited about the future is truly created.