Architectural projects

The joy of showing personality

A sun-kissed location and lots of bathrooms: a private home situated close to the LAUFEN headquarters in Switzerland shows clean lines, high-contrast harmony and persuasive power evolving from great attention to detail.

The old orchard with its sweeping view that lies on the edge of a small municipality’s protected central zone in the Basel Table Jura region stood empty for a long time. The two building owners Roger Furrer and Maximilian Grieger saw the promise that this plot of land and sunny site held and the huge potential to make their dream home with a view a reality. Philipp Bergamelli, by trade an architect ETH and a specialised planner for listed buildings with Blum + Grossenbacher Architekten in Langenthal, supported them in doing so. The inspiration for the project was sparked from the very challenges that lay waiting – the unobstructable sloping site with the terrain exposing a height difference of six metres and the requirements for preserving historical buildings, which needed to be taken into account when designing the house and planning of space.

In an intensive concept phase, the wishes of the owners were elicited and the challenges posed by the structural topography analysed. The steep terrain ultimately led to a parallel displaced conic section in the layout, which allowed the building to be adapted to the terrain rather than dominating it. Instead of the voids created by the displacement in the layout, a covered carport was architecturally integrated on one side and an outdoor seating area on the opposite one. The 180-square-metre house thereby takes on an elegant appearance as a standard gable-roofed home typical of the region when viewed from the outside.

The material in which the whole building is clad is recognisable even before the entrance is reached: grey cement-bound panels, grouped into a recurring pattern, envelop the entire façade, lending it modern aesthetics that are also quite distinct, thanks to the subtle nuances of colour.

The hallway, long and narrow with high windows facing the amply sized carport, opens to the right to a light-filled kitchen and dining area, the height of eight metres which – in homage to Ray and Charles Eames’ “Case Study House No. 8” in Los Angeles – extends right up to under the gable roof, granting the space an unexpected sense of largesse. On the side facing the slope, numerous paintings, photographs and copperplate engravings are artfully arranged along the wall. The home owners’ appreciation of art and design is quietly tangible in rooms furnished with classic fittings. The attention to detail in the architectural spaces, accentuated through the timeless interior elements that have been built in, emanate an exquisite living atmosphere felt within the entire house.

“Our dream of the authentic home has always been inspired by the idea of creating an architectural enclosure in which we experience a space of wellbeing with lots of substance.”- Maximilian Grieger

At the heart of the ground floor is the open-plan kitchen area, furnished with appealing bronze-coloured units, and the adjoining dining area, an inviting space for sociable get-togethers and a place to sit back and relax.

Behind is the living area and an office with a library that is separated from this space with a sliding door. Thanks to the sloping topographic position facing the roadside and the fact that no further development is permitted, there is a slightly elevated, uninterrupted view of the hilly landscape of the Swiss Table Jura. On clear days, even the Black Forest in Germany is visible in the distance.

Inside the house, a substantial oak parquet creates an aura of peace and harmony in the colourfully furnished, light-filled rooms.

The bathrooms in the house are best proof of how seamlessly the house’s architecture can be combined with the installed bathroom facilities. On the ground floor, for example, is the bowl washbasin designed by Andreas Dimitriadis, for which the Brazilian fashion designer Ronaldo Fraga designed a chimera of half man, half fish for a special edition series. The bright red design embellishes the white sapphirine ceramic and complements and contrasts the turquoise tiles on the back wall of the bathroom. Referencing the circular stylistic idiom of the bowl washbasin that is set on marble stone, the wall-mounted toilet from the Val series by Konstantin Grcic is positioned opposite the organically shaped urinal from LAUFEN’s Il Bagno Alessi series.

“The expression of our personality in the bathroom is important to us for the wellbeing of body, mind and soul – and reflects how we define our own style with high-quality products and materials in the process.” – Roger Furrer

The stairs lead from the open-plan kitchen to the upper level, where another office with a loggia and the sleeping area with a master bathroom are located.

This bathroom also features the fresh turquoise-coloured wall tiles. Grey floor tiles with a terrazzo look keep the atmosphere fresh yet low-key. The key focus here is on a “Boutique” vanity unit in dark oak. With its reduced and graceful aesthetics, it showcases perfectly the two asymmetrically shaped washbasins. A bath tub is installed in the recess below the roof pitch. Beside it, separately, is an area with a Riva shower toilet and another Il Bagno Alessi urinal. A rainforest shower enclosure, also clad in the turquoise tiles and equipped with a shower channel with water heat recovery, rounds off the bathroom.

In the basement, with direct access to the sunny garden, is a studio apartment with a covered outdoor seating area with a far-reaching view. This space is currently used as a lounge area with an adjacent guest room. The guest bathroom references the two other bathrooms both visually and formally, yet, with another combination of products in the Kartell • LAUFEN collection, speaks its own language. With apt planning, these rooms can easily be rearranged over time – from a separate entrance to the fittings for a second kitchen, anything goes. Meanwhile, the two homeowners are enjoying every inch of their sunny space with their guests as it is, offering inspiration and creativity for a unique home.