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“The guest decides what is top!”


Interview mit Pierre Winthrop, Architekturbüro SAS Lausanne, on project Le Bretaye 1808, Villars.

Mr. Winthrop, The „Le Bretaye 1808“ is reopened now, with six big umbrellas from Meissl for the terrace. Was it a fundamental renovation? Which were the biggest problems in that task?

It was a restaurant before, but it was a very old one. And it was completely destroyed by a very bad architecture in the 1960s. After that no one had rebuild or renovate it for 50 years.
Even the ski station there is very much old style. No one ever invest in this place, it is not so popular like others in the Swiss alps.
At the end there were almost 800 square meters, which have been completely renovated, in the phase one. The second one will follow end of the year.

You used 6 big Meissl umbrellas and removable windshields for the terrace. What was the aim of that special solution for the terrace?

Before that solution the terrace was totally empty, when it was not a quite sunny day. Our client wanted a terrace you can use every time and for different purposes. Now you can use it as an additional room, as restaurant, as dance floor, for events. On sunny days you can close the umbrellas and put down the glass walls. You are totally flexible – at any time of the year!

How is the reaction of the guests?

They are very impressed for two reasons: First of all, no one in Villars, the little village, could believe, that anyone will invest so much in that place. It was nearly impossible to install such big after ski events here, with Djs and so on. The other reason is, that many people didn’t even recognize that place, it is a kind of re-invention.

Are you satisfied with the construction and the results?

As an architect I am always looking for the best solution – in technique, function and visualisation. My decorator Alexander Boyer and I thought the aluminium frames of the glass walls look best, but they are optically a little to massive. But that is necessary for the safe construction. So if I had redo it, maybe I’ll make it in black colour, which looks a little bit smaller. That is the only complaint. But the possibility to put the windows up and down and still enjoy the view, is a very good solution. And the complete construction and installation were perfect. To approve it, we are still working with Meissl for phase two and another new project.

Why did you choose Meissl?

I got the information from a friend, an architect who had successfully worked with Meissl for another project. He had before worked with another company and was not satisfied. So he came to Meissl and was really happy. He gave me the card of Georg Benedek and then I asked in a lot of places where Meissl had done before. Because the prize is rather high but you get best quality for it. I talked with a lot of owners I know, and they all told me, that were the best investment they had done.
At Le Bretaye the terrace is very big and all umbrellas had to be tailor made with strange shapes, that was a very special solution.

And what do you like most in the cooperation with Meissl?

I like the professional seriousness of Meissl. When I asked for something it is done within 24 hours. And the answer is always very precise. It is done, and it is well done. I feel I can trust. Today it is very hard to find people you can trust. So Meissl is a very good partner for us.

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