Davos, nestled in the Swiss Alps, plays host to the World Economic Forum every year, an event that brings leading political figures and economists to the area. With such a major role to play in world affairs, Davos needs its fair share of exceptional hotels to cater for the ranks of leaders and their respective hangers-on, as well as a hungry press core, which descends on the town in droves during the Forum. Aside from world affairs, Davos also attracts its fair share of skiers and ice hockey fans and those attracted by the area’s renowned prowess for winter sports.
The InterContinental Davos, a gleaming dome of interwoven golden ribbons, sitting amidst the white of the mountains, was designed by architects Oikios so as to reflect the accents of the nearby Fluela Pass and Lake Davos, while offering a modernist take on the traditional wooden chalet building style found across the Alpine region. Its creative design has garnered widespread praise, including a World Travel Award for being ‘Europe’s Leading Hotel 2014’.
The interior design follows a single, overarching principle: to evoke the experience of a walk through the mountains. Guests are led through the building on an ascent through a variety of alpine-inspired spaces created by interior designers Living Design and CM Design working in collaboration with the InterContinental Hotel Group design team.
A lighting scheme by Licht01 emphasises the materials used, while highlighting the differing areas of decoration. The aim was to create a tangible difference of atmosphere as the visitor’s excursion through the mountains continues. The deliberate use of diffuse, indirect lighting from coves, accentuated spotlights, recessed downlights and low atmospheric lighting elements such as table lamps, floor lamps and integrated shelf lighting, provides differentiated lighting atmospheres creating the desired feeling in each room.
The lighting control system plays a major role in this, enabling the easy adjustment of lighting in different areas of the hotel. Lighting has been programmed to match the differing demands that each room will have to nimbly tackle each day, such as the altering of the Alpine light during the year and the multitude of events to be hosted.
A visit to the hotel – along with the conceptual stroll through the hills – begins with a ‘walk through the valley’, as visitors enter through the lobby, a great hall located at the centre of the hotel.
The dramatic mountains outside are echoed in the interior. The increased room height impresses with a unique 28-metre, wave-like chandelier, morphing not the sea of course, but the snowdrifts found in the mountains. The fixture, by light artist Moritz Waldemeyer, features 1400 individually suspended glass beads, creating a flowing shape that reaches out across the lobby.
Each glass sphere contains an LED module comprising warm white LEDs that shine down and blue LEDs that shine up. This creates several effects: seen from below, the spheres seem to contain a conventional light bulb, however in the glass there is a subtle blue highlight, the source of which remains mysterious. The highlight gives the glass a new quality that reflects the luxury of the hotel interior. At the same time the ceiling above the chandelier is illuminated in blue by the spheres to create the blue-sky effect; together the chandelier evokes the shapes and colours of a sunny winter’s day in the mountains.
The blue light found in this area of the hotel helps to create and maintain a mood of peace and tranquility, while cleverly placed downlights accentuate the architecture of the lobby.
Slim 0915-04 fixtures by Vibia were also used in the lobby, slender and sleek pendant fixtures that fall from the ceiling over the reception like dark icicles.
The rough stonewalls in the entrance area are illuminated with wall washers, emphasising the direct relationship of the material to the natural surroundings, while dimmable LED cove lighting can quickly conjure a cosy ambience around the seating area by the fireplace.
As guests progress through the hotel they first encounter the mountains through windows that provide a full view of the Davos landscape. Nature, evident in all its glory outside of the windows, merges with the interior of the Restaurant Capricorn, while irregular shaped wooden ceiling fields, running in parallel to the façade windows, create a visual link to the surrounding forest.
Foscarini Allegretto Vivace pendant lamps, in a bespoke gold finish, deliver both direct and indirect light. Their filigree design provides an intimate ambience for the tables near the terrace without disturbing the spectacular view as indirect lighting components create a soft glow on the ceiling.
Small art pieces in wooden wall niches are softly illuminated with integrated spotlights, while recessed spotlights highlight the tables. Contardi Messalina pendant lamps have also been installed above the buffet counter.
In the private dining area a unique Quasar Universe Square 100 chandelier – an illuminated cube of nickel wire and glass – lends a sophisticated identity to the space.
The ‘Alpine walk’ continues as guests enter ‘the forest’ in the form of Nuts & Co. Lounge Bar. The warm natural materials found in its inviting interior are supported by warm white LED light sources, while special lighting effects draw the visitor’s attention to the interior design and the furniture.
The dark wooden bar is illuminated by directional spotlights, while three Italamp Bon Ton 2326 pendants – clusters of red glass shapes illuminated by a light source concealed within an ornate metal shade – advertise the bar’s location. The bar is further emphasised through the use of LED strip lighting integrated underneath the counter, picking out the bar front’s particular shape and producing a low level ambient light.
‘Beyond the mountains and into new territories,’ is the theme of Matsu restaurant. Its architecture combines local materials, new shapes and cool colours, all blended together with a touch of Asian style. Integrated light in ornamented room dividers guide the guest into the restaurant, while a large gold-coloured wall luminaire resembling an Asiatic gong – the Diskus 100, designed by Cristine Kröncke Interior Design – washes the surrounding walls with light.
Oculo colored glass lanterns by Niche Modern are suspended above the seating area, red, amber and brown pendant lamps working together to create a coloured light cloud. The space is completed by Joiin Suspensione 2 by Pallucco, sections of shade that woven together like ribbon sheets around a central light source.
The Club Lounge offers recovery from the mountain walk, enveloping guests in a luxurious and relaxing atmosphere created by a combination of decorative, sophisticated chandeliers and warm spotlights accentuating high-level materials.
Slim pendant lights above the high tables provide directional light, while an Axo Light Aura SP chandelier in black and clear glass creates a play of light and shadow upon the ceiling, acting to support the luxurious ambiance. Arco fixtures by Flos gracefully lean over the seating area, highlighting the separate tables of activity found within the club.
The look of some of the more business orientated sections of the building are inspired by drifting snow, such as the meeting rooms and the ballroom. A large bespoke chandelier is located in the center of the pre-function lobby, designed by Licht01 lighting design’s Natasha Rajic and built by Peters Design, it is inspired by the vision of falling snowflakes.
Comprised of clear glass and white porcelain spheres suspended on thin wires, the fixture is mounted on a mirrored ceiling with integrated downlights adding to its sparkly magic.
As the effect of the glass elements on the mirrored ceiling combine with natural materials, the visitor experiences the sensation of watching snow fall on a forest landscape, while additional dimmable LED cove lighting offers energy efficient illumination in support of the architectural concept.
The lighting concept for the ballroom itself has been developed to serve several purposes. For festive settings and banquettes, for example, a dimmable and mostly low-level light is required and this is achieved by using accentuated spots.
Meetings, conferences and presentations need different lighting components such as higher illuminance levels and more uniformity and this is achieved by using a lighting control system.
Recessed downlights with high anti-glare protection have been used in order to provide direct light in the ballroom, delivering additional general light and vertical illumination, allowing a better perception of the space. LED cove lights have also been used to provide a soft, indirect, energy efficient light, while offering a high uniformity. The ceiling structure is highlighted by squared versions of the Axo Aura chandeliers, specially produced so that their size and hang height would suit the rooms particular aesthetic.
The meeting and conference rooms feature different light components that can be dimmed in order to achieve different levels of light and to allow various preset lighting scenes. The indirect lighting components of this part of the scheme, such as the cove lighting, provides the general and uniform lighting required for conference set-ups, while for more festive set ups, direct light is provided by the spotlights or chandeliers. Light integrated in furniture and shelving creates a soft and ambient background illumination.
In the hotel’s spa, soft colours and the use of light stone creates a relaxing atmosphere that prompts guests to loosen up and unwind.
Lit using a combination of cove lighting and downlights, the spa also boasts several feature fixtures which were specially developed by Licht01. Among these is the crystal light fitting: a beautiful cascade of glass suspended from the ceiling, continuing, in form, the snow storm theme found throughout the hotel.
The spa also features light fixtures by Axo Light including their Momus fixture that helps to wash the walls with light, while Bond pendants by Terzani, orb like in nature, bring an otherworldly touch to a place where escapism is key.
Throughout the hotel, selecting appropriate light sources was vital. The sources in the decorative luminaires were chosen individually and in accordance with the colour temperature of the surrounding architectural lighting. For example, in the bar area the decorative chandelier has a halogen light source to create a warm light when dimmed to a low intensity.
In luminaires with closed shades, LED retrofits with a colour temperature of 2700K were used, while the decorative glass chandeliers feature halogen lamps in order to create sparkling lighting effects in the glass and on the ceilings. Table and floor lamps have been fitted with 2700K luminaires, a warm colour temperature that creates a cozy atmosphere.
The InterContinental Davos is a hotel that embraces its surroundings rather than trying to better them. The use of natural materials throughout, matched with the themed interior design, ensure that the hotel does not go down an abrasive path that fails to recognise that it will always be bettered by the majesty of the scene it sits in. Instead a modern, intimate, sophisticated setting has been created thanks to an engaging lighting design. The InterContinental is a hospitable hideaway amid the inhospitable mountains.