Situated at 1,850 meters above sea level, the Mayen a Eison, in Val d’Herens is one hundred per cent Swiss chalet on the outside, while the interiors have been transformed by the thoughtful team of Personeni Raffaele Scharer from an old mountain shelter into a modern safe haven. The architects’ motivation for the project is down-to-earth and much focused on the realities of a modern world, in which a holiday home at the top of the Alps is sure to cause some disruption to the natural habitat. However, the designers and architects tried to minimize the damage done, by making full use of locally available resources and maintaining a timeless exterior to the chalet, with no modern additions. The interiors are simply “warm and dry”, with no unnecessary frills. The view is the only painting. The heating and cooking is wood-fueled. The walls are covered in grass. Electricity comes from solar panels. The floors are locally produced sanded concrete. Outside, the beauty of nature lives through its perennial cycles, without being disrupted by the artifices and avatars of contemporary living.
Personeni Raffaele Scharer is an architecture studio, founded in 2001 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The core collective includes five associates (Fabio Personeni, Colette and Fabrizio Raffaele, Cedric Scharer and Wilmay Choy, all of them PhDs, MAs or even members of the academia). Their portfolio includes residential complexes, such as the Europan Serrieres, office buildings (EMS La Clairiere, in Mies, for instance), the transformation of a garage into a home and several art installations, of which the most jarring and visually thought-provoking is the installation exhibited in 2005 at Lausanne, “Architecture d’ascenseur”.