Swiss chalet transforms swimming pool into AV show
Not many would be able to call on the UN’s architect of choice to handle the design of its chalet, but not many are as exclusive as those found in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Charlotte Ashley explores.
Sitting amongst the 1500-metre snowy peaks of Matterhorn to Mont Blanc and the resorts of Crans-Montana is a chalet with an interior display to match the views offered beyond its entrance.
The building in question, a 1200m2 transformation project – spanning 11 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a library and a large dining room – was to be delivered for VIP client from the United Arab Emirates. The overhaul was to see its interior renovated into intriguing spaces paying homage to classic Swiss design, with the occasional contemporary touch. Beyond wood-panelled walls and tapestries, the chalet’s most contemporary amenity is distinctively, its swimming pool.
No stranger to high-end chalet projects, and $22 million UN meeting room projects, at the helm of architecture element of the chalet was renowned Swiss architect Siavosh Adeli.
“The swimming pool is an integral part of the Chalet Minda in Crans Montana, measuring roughly 200 m2,” states Adeli. “The concept of this pool is based on specially-made video projections of ice, sky and sea beamed onto a wall of inclined glass representing the form of mountains, surrounded by wood.”
Handling AV for the project and working alongside the architecture team was Jean-Pierre Kazemi of Public Image. “Siavosh Adeli was working on the luxury Swiss chalet and he came to myself and my business partner at the time, Nicolas Wintsch, saying he wanted to create something special in the swimming pool,” recalls Kazemi, who had previously collaborated with the architect on a previous installation.
“Siavosh Adeli was working on the luxury Swiss chalet and he came to me saying he wanted to create something special in the swimming pool.”
“The walls from the pool were decorated by Siavosh with a complex structure of wood surrounding two big trapezoid surfaces made of opaque glass. Siavosh asked us if it was possible to create projections on these glasses,” explains Kazemi. “It was about creating a special setting that could provide the owners a unique and immersive experience whilst swimming or relaxing by the pool.”
To fulfil the design vision of allowing the owner to choose from a selection of videos – whether swimming alongside fish, among the ice, or next to the sky watching the clouds roll by, Kazemi opted for two 10,000 lumens Panasonic video projectors, mapping software and LED lights.
“To create the projections, we had two video projectors and Siavosh created a wood structure surrounding two pillars in the pool in order to have enough space to integrate them in a box with a small window at the top of each pillar,” says Kazemi. “This conveniently meant that the projectors were totally concealed, and protected from the water.”
The most challenging part of the install would not directly involved the projection, however, but stem from accommodating client’s special requests for the environment equipment would be installed in.
“The owners wanted the swimming pool to remind them the Middle East, so temperatures of around 26-28 degrees with very high humidity,” states Kazemi. “Even if the projectors were integrated in the boxes initially created inside the pillars they would really suffer a lot from the heat and would stop the projection. The solution came in installing small fans that could vent the warm air to the outside of the boxes and critically, work even if the temperature remained pretty high within them.
In total, 8 different atmospheres can be created the pool – alternating between details from the local mountains and around the chalet (i.e. stones, river, moss, plants or flowers), accompanied by LED lights in the swimming pool. After collecting the imagery, Kazemi’s then-partner, Wintsch, created mapping to adapt the images to the trapezoid shapes of the glass panelling in the room.
“A control panel integrated in the pool’s bar allows the client to turn the projections on and to choose one of the 8 different atmospheres – each of which have an associated LED light meaning the pool would also change from one atmosphere to another.” For occasions the client doesn’t want to use this panel, lights can also be turned on and changed via remote control.
Projections were managed through mapping software, Modul 8, installed on a Mac positioned in a small equipment room next to the pool. Installed over the course of two weeks, everything was wired and integrated in the floor by an electrical team. “The Mac was connected to the internet so we could control, update the software or even change the images from the projections remotely,” adds Kazemi.
Elsewhere, seating areas and the bar space surrounding the pool are illuminated with other subtley-positioned LED lighting which changes throughout the day. “Every corner has been designed with maximum attention to each detail and taking into account the important role of lighting during both day and night to add to the general ambiance of the pool,” concludes Adeli.
For Kazemi and Adeli, the collaborations interweaving technology and design continues: “The feedback from the client has been very good, and I have since worked with Siavosh on other partnerships,” says Kazemi.
Apple Mac & control panel (w/control unit)