A former holiday camp becomes the Auberge D’Aillon et D’Ailleurs, in the Bauges mountains in Savoie.
At the owner’s request, Agence Amevet is to design the interior architecture of the Auberge D’Aillon et D’Ailleurs in June 2021. Everything had to be done very quickly, as the establishment was due to open for the 2022 summer season. The objective will be achieved, but not without stress: in the space of a few months, we will have had to make the client’s specifications our own, integrate some of his creative intuitions, design an image, imagine the furniture…
But let’s get back to the genesis of the project. Originally from Lyon, the owners of the premises were in love with the resort of Aillon, in the Bauges massif, where they owned a chalet. Above all, they wanted to help revitalise the village, so they bought the buildings of a former holiday camp and transformed them into a top-of-the-range hotel.
It’s a risky challenge, because the Bauges are anything but a ski hotspot ! Their tourist economy relies more on local customers from Aix-les-Bains, Chambéry and Annecy than on long-distance stays. And yet the challenge makes sense in a new context, where customer aspirations are shaping the contours of ‘slow’ tourism, which is more sustainable and better spread out over the whole season.
To rise to the challenge, we needed a very strong approach that was totally in keeping with this calm, wild mid-mountain region, listed as a UNESCO Geopark for the beauty of its natural sites. This approach, which can be summed up in a single word, HYGGE, serves as a set of specifications. “Hygge” is a state of mind, a concept that originated in Scandinavia and is based on a warm, friendly, cocooning atmosphere. In the home, this translates into a proliferation of “little corners” where you can take refuge, find yourself and forget the stresses of life.
It’s a philosophy that particularly inspired Maelle, the Agence Amevet interior architect in charge of the project. “Hygge was a point of view, an art of living, that we had to translate into interior architecture, without falling into clichés. We’re in the mid-range mountains, not at altitude, where inspiration comes from chalets and refuges!
Agence Amevet works on projects “that have already been defined”, where it strives to translate the customer’s expectations: the hygge spirit, but also the presence of the piano, the owner’s favourite. The communal areas bring together, on the same open plateau, the reception, the lounge, the gourmet and locavore restaurant with its glass façade, designed by chef Marc Guy; the bar, in a central position, with a mix of wood and contemporary lines… Two fireplaces, one 3-sided, the other round, warm the whole and accentuate the cosy atmosphere… In the basement, you’ll find the wellness area, offering Ayurvedic massages, a heated swimming pool and a sweat lodge… The seminar area is versatile and ideal for organising family events… Everything is soft and calm, dominated by shades of white and beige, enhanced by touches of colour.
But the most astonishing thing is that the rooms are all different! 14 rooms, 14 themes, inspired by the geology and geography of the area, the way of life of its inhabitants, its rural economy… You’ll have to visit the Auberge D’Aillon et D’Ailleurs many times to sleep in the Schiste (stone), Nant (river), Sylva (forest), Sycomore (turned wood), Gentiane (flower), Lana (wool), Corne (fauna), Séléné (sky), Clarine (bell), Bauju (inhabitant), Flocon (snowflake), Feu (fire) and so on.
Agence Amevet is particularly proud to have been part of this adventure. Because it is first and foremost a human adventure, foreshadowing tomorrow’s tourism in the mountains, which must evolve in the face of climatic and social uncertainties. Here, the primary aim of the project was to help revitalise the village. This meant, among other things, buying up the business of a local bar to prevent it from closing. Recruiting and integrating local staff, who were initially untrained. Buying up rooms in the surrounding area to accommodate people who wanted to use the hostel’s seminar facilities but didn’t have the money to buy a hotel…
From a technical point of view, the Agence Amevet team had to meet the challenges of a very tight schedule, the logistical difficulties of our time of crisis, and the need to fit into very tight spaces. We had to fit in seamlessly with a team that had already been put together, including the architect and project manager, design offices and a number of craftsmen. It was a great collaboration, with Maelle, our interior architect, being a particularly good listener and facilitator.
The owners’ desire to stand out from the crowd, and their desire to indulge their dreams in this slightly crazy project, such as the creation of a garden adorned with a work by visual artist Simon Augade, were powerful incentives for this unusual project.
25 September 2023
Hôtels & Résidences