Owner: Hotel Mohr Life Resort – Familie Künstner-Mantl
Developer: Franz Thurner
Hotel operator: Familie Künstner-Mantl
Architecture & Interior design: noa* network of architecture
Lighting design: Lichtstudio Eisenkeil
Furnishings: on design manufactured by Fischnaller, Baxter
Bathrooms: Peter Wörz Installations
Ceilings: HTB; STO Silent acoustic ceiling
Curtains & Fabrics: Delius, Glamour, Silvera
Photo credits: Alex Filz
Architecture as audience. The mountain as the leading actor. A deliberate switching of roles under the direction of noa*, the young team of architects and designers guided by founders Lukas Rungger and Stefan Rier, reversing the vantage point in the project of the Theatrical Spa, the new wellness area of the Mohr Life Resort at Lermoos, one of the oldest ski resorts of the Tyrol.
The final result is truly theatrical, not egotistical but with an attitude of humility. The building extends horizontally under the hotel complex, forming an artificial ridge, in tune with the dry-mounted stone walls nearby, adapting to the morphology of the gently sloping terrain. The right space to set the structure, of glass and concrete in a long, soft hollow. Thanks to the reflecting walls, its volume almost vanishes, taking on the hues of nature as they change across the course of the day and the seasons, allowing the mountain to reflect without interrupting the dialogue of morphology, culture and local history.
From the inside emerges the proscenium: a unique view of the large valley of the Ehrwalder Becken, punctuated by farmhouses and barns and dominated by the imposing Zugspitze massif, which marks the boundary between Austria and Germany with its 3000-meter height. “Precisely the mountain, a majestic presence full of energy, becomes the proving ground of our project,” says the architect Christian Rottensteiner, partner of studio noa*.
“The Zugspitze, in particular, due to its beauty, force and complexity of form, is undoubtedly the main inspiration, the true protagonist of the project. The new wellness area, in fact, has been designed like the seating area of a theater, from which to watch the extraordinary spectacle of nature, relaxing in complete tune with the landscape. Our challenge is to create works of architecture that expand and make the perception of the spaces more intense. Places capable of bringing wellbeing and new emotions to those who spend time inside them.”
The complex is organized on two levels, with a shift of altitude that permits creation of the volume of the swimming pool, another reflecting surface that amplifies the surrounding nature. An area of 600 square meters composed of a covered portion, built from scratch, and an open-air zone which with the pool also functions as an indoor-outdoor connection, thanks to a central appendix that extends into the spa.
The ‘theater factor’ intentionally returns in various parts. Like the island-boxes, designed for the occasion and made by measure with fine craftsmanship. Relaxation areas offering different sensorial experiences, expressed in a sumptuous way especially in the indoor zones. Organized like the balcony seats of a theater facing the mountains, each ‘box’ contains two cots with different design solutions: two-story spaces with large swings hung from the ceiling, wrapped by drapes or by metal cones to frame the view of the mountain, alternate with closed loggias for greater privacy and calm (still open to the landscape). The colors and fabrics also suggest the boxes of a theater, with cottons and soft velvets that play with the warm nuances of bordeaux, shifting into brown.
For the lighting, the points follow the leitmotif of the glass sphere, interpreted in different versions, case by case, depending on spaces and needs: a dramatic chandelier accompanies the ascent of the helical staircase, while a ribbon of light bulbs suggests the lamps in dressing rooms, with a simple sphere that punctuates the walls. Finally, the floors are covered in resin and concrete, avoiding the need for joints, perfectly matched in terms of color but without ever losing their identity, thanks to a range of different textures.