Ross Lovegrove's Alpine Capsule
After a bout of radio silence, Ross Lovegrove makes a welcome return to the world of conceptual design with his latest project, the Alpine Capsule.
The capsule – designed for one-night stays – is audacious not so much for its visual reference to Anish Kapoor, but for its, literally, breathtaking location 2,100m above sea level in Piz la Ila in Italy’s Alta Badia region.
Encased in acrylic and a special mirror finish, the 8m-diameter dome will – thanks to solar technology and wind turbines – be entirely weather controlled and energy independent, offering overnight guests a cosy wraparound view of the Dolomites.
Construction on the capsule is due to commence in 2010, though other details (such as cost, completion date or even the mode of transportation to the top) remain sketchy. But for those of us who are already inspired to take in an alpine view or two, here are our favourite spots in which to whet the appetite while waiting for Mr Lovegrove’s silvery folly.
Aurland Lookout, Norway
Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen’s extraordinary 30m long lookout platform is set 600m above Aurland Fjord. Only a glass barrier stands between visitors and the void at the end of the lookout.
SkiHaus, various location across the Swiss Alps
Richard Horden’s lightweight aluminium alpine hut predates Lovegrove’s bubble by two decades. Dropped into place by helicoptor. the mobile, fully insulated SkiHaus is powered by sun and wind, making it a favourite of mountain climbers and skiers.
Niesen restaurant, Switzerland
Architects Aebi & Vincent’s renovations for the Niesen take full advantage of the restaurant’s Swiss Alps setting. Weather permitting, the verandahs and generously proportioned timber deck offer giddy mountain views to go with your fondue and Raclette.
Top of Tyrol, Austria
Innsbruck firm Astearchitecture carefully balanced a perforated platform literally over the edge of the Mount Isidor glacier. The experience is a fluid sculpture that is both beautiful and yet terrifyingly exhilarating to experience.