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Stories

Why die berge are as they are.

die: The. Because not some. And yet, all. Indefinite, generic, proprial articles. Definite and feminine articles. In the Ötztal they are voiced deliberately. And always, more or less, clearly spoken. Elsewhere in the Tyrol they’re swallowed up. Here you say: That comes from “the mountains” instead of “th’mountains”.

berge: Mountains. Her-berge, lodgings or shelter. Geborgen, secure. Innumerable mountains. And the mountains, they greet you. In Ötztal, we don’t say, “d’Bärg” but “die Baarge.”The Ötztal dialect is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. 

Within die berge is like being afield, on die berge. Stone, ore, conifers, flowers, beauty. Clean air. Lucid, spacious. Stunning landscape, enchanting scents. Then the sheep fly past. Lichen conquers rock. There stand the deer. The conifer wood bends, loses its needles. Flowers bloom across fields. Perfume fills the trails. The Pult family love die berge. Nature, wildlife, hiking, mountaineering, the Ötztal culture. So the hotel is already the mountains. Already, as it stands in their midst. But also because treasures can be found here:
The hidden spots with alpine pastures, the places where lichen may be found, the ancient larch conifers, the airiest peaks, the clearest streams, the untouched snow slopes, and the most beautiful ways to them. Where chamois go to drink water, the pastures for sheep, and glades with deer.

But most important: here you can find yourself. die berge are loaded with myths and stories. A few of them want to be told. Over a two-year journey these came into being. Some through deep research, some were already there, waiting to be written down, others we unearthed ourselves. Some are completely new, like the one where I was moved to tears. I suggested to the Pult family that the seat cushions in the breakfast area be the color and shape of the unique Ötztal lichens. Then Karoline arrives at my Innsbruck office with something of great importance! A ten kilogram stone dressed in lichen. Her ten-year-old daughter, Viktoria, had proudly borne it down from a valley 2400 meters up, just so I could sample the colors.

Horst Philipp, Designer, Tante Lotte

Lärche

She is unique. She gifts us her dress of needles each autumn. Because for next year she wants a new one.

It’s the 2015 vintage. Larch needles. Collected by the Pult family. Around die berge. Wait until the first snow, says Christian. That’s the trick. Then you simply gather needles off the snow cover. And just as they flutter from tree into snow, so would we turn them to another use. Sometimes dense, sometimes lighter, sometimes overlaid, now and then forming patterns. As screens for privacy in the Wellness area. As hangings, and as covers for the Hotel menus and journals. The larch is a exceptional tree. In autumn she shrugs off her needles. The only conifer to do this. Symbolically considered: throw off your old clothes and pull on the new. A little renewal and revival. That’s exactly what you want. Into die berge. And that’s why we also make things anew from the needles. Around here, larch live up to a thousand years. Mythology says the larch is home to the good fairies. The “Saligen Fräulein”. They aid lost wanderers. Those seeking the thousand year larch. And lightning shies away from the larch. So it’s said. As well, larch wood is strongly antibacterial. Bacteria perish within two days. On plastic they thrive. That’s science. The oils and resins help with gout, back pain, rheumatism, colds, circulatory disorders and infections. But mainly it’s just a beautiful tree.

Blühende Hänge

On the mountain slopes, there, where it’s too cold for trees, they blossom, release their perfume and radiance.

The alpine roses. The Pult family were picking flowers. Karoline, Katharina, Elisabeth, Viktoria, and Christian.  Way up high. Entire slopes ablaze in bloom. The family also. Fragrant. Glowing. And nearing the summit, they dwindle, and the peak stands starkly visible. Above, the clear sky. Now they blaze in new splendor, fill the house with perfume. Using a special process the blossoms are dried, and furnished with an organic binding agent. Then they are strewn and spread out, as they were in the mountains. Karoline and Christian took this on, because they know how! Alpine roses, as they’re named, they aren’t roses at all. In fact they’re heather. They flower from May until July, and grow up to 2500 meters altitude. In some areas they are protected. So only a few are picked. For the other alpinists. To enjoy. To delight in. Because higher up they blaze ever more intense. die berge tell stories of die berge. To seduce. To find oneself. The slopes in bloom.

Baamen

Centuries old treasure. Salvaged from the deep. In river gravel they’ve been waiting. Now they tell their stories and reveal their strength and beauty.

We found the Baamen. In the excavation! With a digger! Baamen is Ötztal for timber or joists. How convenient, said the Pult family. As did the village archivist. Who rummaged through the archives. There is a tale. One with a snowstorm. A family could not make it to the church. In Sölden! An avalanche. Them along with their hut, in which they lived. But these are just stories. And what stories! What beauties! From a barn? Church roof? Timber yard? When? How? Is it pine? Spruce? Larch? The accomplished joiner says, “Cut it all up and glue it back together”. “Boring!” replied Tante Lotte. I want to see the Baamen. In die berge it’s all coming and going. That’s what we want too. Make something of the life and strength of the wood. Mountains and valleys. As themselves. Ravines! Opening themselves up. None were planned so. They had shrunk a lot, and hardened up. Thirty centimeters lost on each six-meter length.
While buried in the river’s gravel, sometimes soaked, sometimes parched. Their resins and oils washed out. Out of their cells. And then they move. Shrink and swell, warp and unbend. Like die berge. Capricious. From the wood no branch remains. The joints and notches are now peepholes. In the future? At the Baamen drinks must be drunk. Glasses rattled! Spilt beer and wine rings. Mountains scaled and valleys forded. Stories tell themselves. Sometimes boisterous, sometimes quiet. Always up and down. Like die berge.

Oh Deer

Around the glade they gambol, stalk one another, ready to pounce. The treasures of die berge are shared here, their secrets whispered.

Light and stable is how they should be. Fleet and agile also, for we are indeed in the mountains. Like a fawn or chamois. A bit of rough wood Tyrolean stool. The ones with the heart on the back. Or a tool. A shovel or spade. With a haft. Take it along and unearth treasure. Not in die berge. In the stories. At the neighbor’s table, next mountain over. There was little of luxury here. In the Ötztal. That’s why nothing sparkles or glitters.
No gold or brocade. But valued still. The treasures of the Ötztal. These we have safeguarded. The majestic larch, towering all around. The hard steel. The Ötztaler have always mined it. It was priceless. Only for the essentials. Where it really must keep. The upholstery is made from lambs. Their wool, of course. We took all this and because we live in the here and now, worked with today’s technology. Or, it assisted, at any rate. But we have also honored the past. The backrests are always triangular. And from every direction they change their shape. Are all the legs unalike? Here, everything is askew. In nature there are no straight lines. And legs always stretch out from their seats here. Then everything’s better. Into die berge. Like the deer, listening, ready to spring. Because die berge call.

Whisperwool

Because they are beloved. The fleecy clouds.

They fly! Those lambs. They fly over die berge. They’re looking down on us from way up there. Not a sound, not even an echo. And clean, pure air. Like clouds, they float above on lath. Overhead are cables and pipes. But this is no kind of felt. Felt’s too soft. No, Whisperwool is something new. Matted, pressed, compressed wool, as natural as can be. Clouds say yes to rain. Into streams and rivers and on and on, all the way back to clouds. Without end. The same with Whisperwool. The wool? It’s too coarse and barely usable. So the farmers are happy too. But how did this happen? An experiment. A cloud was formed. Exactly the size of a poetry collection. The Pult family and architect Peter Reiter saw it. And wanted it. Shepherd poetry for die berge. Tante Lotte had no idea how. A volume of poetry? Sure. A whole library? 800 square meters in three months?  Tante Lotte said yes. No problem at all. So: A machine was built. Or, not quite. There was considerable rebuilding. Tyrolean wool was shorn. Four tonnes of it, ready for the machine’s poetry.
The first delivery though, mattresses instead of sheets. Five centimeters thick instead of one. And a month late. Thunder and lightning! Construction, installation, family, architect. Cloud production halted. And resumed. Out of time, day and night, work without pause. Not quite a perfect cloud, a little rough around the edges. But! The sheep fly! And what they should be, they are: pleasant spaces. Acoustics. Room climate. Pollution free. Here they are the first time! Proud. Like die berge.

Alma

Pattern of real flowers instead of flowery pattern.

Fragrance creation. Task: Enchantment. Ingredients: Alpine roses, a pinch of lavender. Stir and whisk vigorously until stiff. Then pour into moulds. This is something new. Even for the mountains.  A textile made only from flowers. Flowers, hand-picked. With Alma, everything is done by hand. From picking flowers to working steel. And what else, with such a fabric, can a designer now create? Besides flowers? Truly. It would be absurd. Of course all just implied, we’re not making kitsch here. Underfoot, leaves and foliage. Overhead, it blooms and glows. It’s harsh in the die berge, with a real edge.
So: raw steel for the frame. This fits the Ötztal. Rough bolts and welds. Right-angles. Verticals. Geometric. Reduced to bare necessities. And focussed on what is truly important. The flowers. They shall blaze in color and scent. Into die berge.