Who would have anticipated finding exquisite Italian design on Mont Blanc at such a dizzying height? Since summer 2015 those heading for the summit can use the new “Skyway Monte Bianco” cable railway to Pointe Helbronner station. Up there they can relax in the bar or restaurant on chairs by Pedrali, and savor the fantastic view across the Aosta massif.
On behalf of Dimensione Ingenierie, a firm specializing in mountain infrastructure, architect Carlo Cillara Rossi designed a futuristic building sporting a curving roof and wrap-around terrace for the station. Now this impressive structure of steel and glass with its inward sloping façade seems to merge with the mountain scenery. The interior is dominated by sloping walls and white varnished steel girders which frame the generous expanses of glass. Over a cocktail and various delicacies visitors can enjoy the panoramic view at the bar or in the restaurant next door.
Roberto Rosset and Danilo Montovert not only designed this interior but also the restaurant and bar areas of Pontal d’Entrève the bottom station and the middle station Pavillon du Mont Fréty. In so doing the interior designers were keen to ensure colors and materials cite the environs of the respective station. Accordingly, amongst other things they opted for black lacquered metal and surfaces of bright white Corian for the bar of Pointe Helbronner – in keeping with the rugged rocky landscape amidst snow and ice. Chairs from the “Volt” range in black and varying shades of gray complete the cool, subtle furnishings, and reflect the massif’s shadows.
By contrast, the Malmo chairs of bleached oak in the “Bellevue” bar in the Pavillon du Mont Fréty station exude coziness, and their color harmonizes with the timber ceilings and wall cladding, not to forget the sand-colored floor tiles. Next door in “Dames Anglaises” restaurant guests also have very comfortable seating, as the designers opted for a variation with gray upholstery. For mountaineers Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard, the first men to reach the summit of Mont Blanc in 1786 such comfort was a mere dream. (sb)
The highest station of the “Skyway Monte Bianco” cable railway offers alpinists a stunning view of the Aosta massif. The alpine facility boasts state-of-the-art technical equipment. Think cabins with panorama glazing and a photovoltaic and heating system with integrated heat recovery. Photo © Daniele Domenicali
Take a break: At Pointe Helbronner station guests take a seat on black and anthracite chairs from Pedrali’s “Volt” range. The seating visually reflects the subtle shades of the alpine landscape. Photo © Daniele Domenicali
Italian belles amidst rugged precipices: The chairs from the “Volt” series are made of polypropylene and reinforced with fiberglass. Extremely robust and stackable, they make for perfect seating in bars, restaurants and lobbies.
Photo © Daniele Domenicali
Ambient illumination and tasteful interior design: In the restaurant, the gray upholstered “Malmö” chairs entice guests to stay and relax. The interior designers also opted for muted colors for the ceilings and floors – a bright splash of color is provided by the voluminous pendant luminaires in a rich red.
Photo © Daniele Domenicali
Scandinavian comfort in the middle station, Pavillon Mont Fréty: Made of bleached oak, the “Malmö” chairs harmonize with the bar counter composed of slender round logs. Photo © Daniele Domenicali