A retreat in the Austrian Tyrol
Marco Geti (Episas)
Ebbs, a village in the Austrian Tyrol, is a paradise for walkers and mountain enthusiasts, for people who want to live in close contact with nature or who enjoy active holidays spent mountain-biking, skiing or hiking (the word Tyrol literally means «land amongst the mountains»).
Set amongst green meadows in almost uncontaminated surroundings where age-old rhythms and traditions still exist, it feels a world away from the frenetic daily life of the city. All around are the magnificent views of the Kufstein region, a splendid protected natural area dominated by Wilder Kaiser, a mountain consisting prevalently of white limestone.
To the south lies the pine-blanketed Zahmen Kaiser and lakes of pure crystalline water. It is the perfect place to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of mountain retreats, a fine example of which is the Aschinger-Alm Alpengasthof.
Designed in the traditional local mountain style, this new building blends perfectly into the Alpine landscape and is surrounded by green meadows in the summer and snow-covered fields in the winter. It has a warm, welcoming atmosphere and can seat up to a hundred people in three rooms, each equipped with a traditional «stube» or wood-burning stove and custom furnished with a wealth of antique wood elements. These include wood panelling and Tyrolean style solid wood furniture and the decorative carvings that are popular throughout the Austrian and Italian Tyrol.
Totally free from architecture barriers, the building has striking ceilings with large exposed beams and features a meticulous choice of complementary elements, not least the traditional stone washbasin. The heart of the Alpengasthof is the large main room, divided into smaller and more intimate spaces and dominated by the imposing presence of the «stube», a term that is now used for a simple stove but originally had a broader meaning. In mountain farmhouses, whether in Austria, Germany or the Italian Tyrol, the «stube» was the heart of the home, a room entirely panelled in wood and heated by a stone or ceramic-clad wood-burning stove that was fed from outside so as to avoid heat losses.
Together with the masonry «stube» decorated by ornamental panels with splendid carvings, the Alpengasthof room also features a bar with a long wood counter surrounded by high stools, while a stairway leads to the basement floor with a games room ideal for rainy days. Outside, a terrace offers magnificent views during the summer months and there is a large play area for children.
A major contribution to the rustic and natural aesthetic that distinguishes the interiors and exteriors came from the choice of the building’s floor covering materials, supplied by Ceramiche Coem.
These consist of the Quartz porcelain tile series in the colour Gold, in both Natural and Soft finishes (the former also ideal for exteriors, the latter more suited to interiors). Architect Marco Geti from Episas chose these stone reproduction tiles for the building’s structure and for the exposed decorative and furnishing elements not only because of their rustic and natural aesthetic which matches well with the warm tones of the wood but also for their strength and resistance. As they are used throughout the interior and on the immediate exterior of the terrace, they have to withstand the stress of ski, snow and walking boots, foot traffic and the sometimes extreme climatic conditions that occur at this altitude.