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The five-star Bürgenstock hotel

On the ridge of the Bürgenberg mountain, at an altitude of 440 meters above the lake of the Four Cantons, the new five-star hotel, designed by the Rüssli architecture firm, stands at the center of the legendary Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne, of which the first stone was laid in 1871. Two years later the Grand Hotel was built and, over the decades, other hotels and accommodation facilities were added to this space that stretches for one kilometre in length. The entrepreneurial genius of Franz-Joseph Bucher also conceived a funicular, a magnificent rocky path and the Hammetschwand elevator. Ennobled by the visit of distinguished international guests, the Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne experienced changing fortunes in the course of the centuries, up to the closure of all the hotels of the complex in 2006; but in 2008 the resort was bought by investors from Qatar as part of the Bürgenstock Selection.

The new building, completed in 2017, may give the idea of a modern hotel in a skyscraper in cities like Tokyo or Shanghai, but the panorama is anything but urban. In fact the project by the Rüssli architecture firm focussed on this aspect, choosing to extend the wings of the building to Lucerne, to provide views of the lake and the Alps. The upper hotel offers a solution that is luxurious, with cinema, themed restaurants, a wine lounge, the nearby Alpine Spa – the largest in Europe – and much more, that even today continues to draw people from all over the world. But it is definitely the sensational view that makes the building unique. The lighting concept developed by the Sektor4 studio is based on subdued tones to allow guests to become enchanted and lose themselves in distant landscapes. Ninety percent of all the lighting solutions, both indoor and outdoor, feature iGuzzini devices – especially the innovative Laser Blade and Laser collections, miniaturised and glare-free. This minimalist choice implemented by the designers was intended to avoid adding anything to the opulence of the building’s interior, while the exterior is more sober and linear. The work also included the cable car station, where Laser Blade inOut luminaires were inserted to ensure the right levels of illumination on the ground. The historic cable car carriages and the equipment used during the nineteenth century, as well as images of the time are set up in a small exhibition space illuminated by Palco projectors.

One of the highlights of the resort is the lobby, a meeting place for day guests from the Bürgenstock Hotel and the historic Palace Hotel. During daytime the atmosphere is created by natural light through the panoramic windows as high as six meters, inundating the Lakeview Bar & Lounge: the brilliant atmosphere is further underlined by the Laser collections. As evening falls, the influence of artificial light changes: the designers created a grading between the reception areas, the central area with a fireplace and the entrance and exit areas. The arrivals sector has priority, because guests must be able to immediately what direction to take. When, in the course of the day, the hotel becomes quieter and there are only a few guests to check-in, the general lighting becomes softer and softer; now the focus is on the large fireplace that is wood-fired 24 hours per day, and the atmosphere of the hall takes on a tone that is sober and reserved.

Some of the shopping areas have recessed Palco projectors to emphasize the “islands” on which clothes and other objects of Swiss craftsmanship are exhibited.

The 102 suites of the hotel offer, without exception, breathtaking views of the lake and each one has a bay window for moments of relaxation. Laser Blade optical spots are recessed in the wooden panelling, creating an intimate and peaceful atmosphere with a lighting level suitable for reading and avoiding unpleasant reflections off the window because the fixtures have invisible light sources. The other spaces in the room and bathroom are illuminated with Laser recesses.

Outside, along the southern façade, opposite the hall, is a square-shaped area formed by the two wings of the building. Here you can access the Kehrsiten station of the new cable car railway that replaced the station dating back to 1988 while maintaining its historic inspiration. In the summer this square hosts events and film screenings in the open where hotel guests can watch from large wood-panelled balconies set in the southern façade of the west wing. In this case too the designers used soft lighting, without glare, for visual comfort. On the back wall of the balconies, 360° Tricks create circular effects while the direct emission of the recessed Laser Blade luminaires in the ceiling is reflected from the light-coloured floor to brighten the space delicately and evenly: the view of the square remains completely undisturbed, and those who linger can enjoy a wonderful view of the limestone facade.

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  • Year
  • Client
    The Bürgenstock Selection - Katara Hospitality
  • Architectural project:
    Rüssli Arkitekten
  • Lighting project:
    Sektor4 GmbH-Zürich
  • Interior design:
  • Photographer
    Paolo Carlini