We have recently completed the outline design for converting a former clothing shop into a wine bar/cafe/shop, located in a historic townhouse on the right bank of the old town of Luzern, Switzerland. Interpreting the brief and the wishes of the clients led to an investigation into how a new dining and drinking establishment could be discreetly placed within such a historical context.

The ambition to create a series of spaces that would be fundamentally welcoming, whilst attaining a sense of timelessness and continuity became our major constraint. Creating a place that had these characteristics, but also that could be perceived as a modern piece of architecture, dictated to move forward with a concept built around a strong idea and, at the same time, based on simplicity. As a result, material and phenomenological approach based on the experience of the lake could be used to describe the main inspiration behind the proposed design.

In terms of experience, JMW Turner’s appreciation of light and subtlety of form were our key design drivers. As part of our design process, we experimented by adapting the aesthetic and abstraction of oil paintings in our digital workflow to create atmosphere studies for each room.