AW² completes Six Senses Crans Montana, built around sustainability and wellness

Posted in News on 24 April, 2023

Located on the ski slopes of Crans Montana, Switzerland, this project is a testament to AW² ‘s dedication to creating spaces that connect people with nature. Designed as chalets with wrap-around balconies looking out onto the valley, the resort comprises 46 terrace rooms, 17 residences, an Alpine Garden, two swimming pools, a 2000 sqm spa, and two restaurants. 

Above left: Six Senses Crans Montana, Switzerland. ©Mikael Bénard for AW². Above right: Arrival, credit Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. Top: Deluxe Terrace Room, credit Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Journey to the light
The project’s location meant that the only access to the building would be through a tunnel into the building’s lowest level. This arrival point forms the starting point for a ‘journey’ through the site, an upwards journey towards the light.

The journey takes guests from the depths of the mountain cave up through the valleys, forests, and finally emerging above the treetops, taking in the views and the bright rays of sunlight shining through the pine needles and onto the snow.

Visitors’ first experience is the entry tunnel leading into the drop-off space. The space is lined in stone, the ceiling is designed as a timber structure with its lines recreating the stone facets found in a mountain cave. The space creates the feeling of a contemporary expression of the grotto. The strong visual impact and sense of arrival aims to initiate the narrative of the guest’s experience.

At the heart of the building, the Alpine Garden opens directly onto the surrounding forests and views, enhancing the connection with nature.

Deluxe Terrace Room and bathroom. Credit Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Suite and Guestroom ©Mikael Bénard for AW²

The suites
For the suites, AW² wanted to create a sense of ‘coming in from the cold,’ like entering a cabin in the woods, a space to feel warm and safe, while in direct contact with the surrounding nature. The rooms are lined in rough timber planks and stone-coloured wall render. The windows run the full width, with vast private balconies taking in the views onto the ski slopes, forest, and valley. The natural colour tones of the room were chosen to reinforce the idea of nature.

Alpine Lounge, credit Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and Indoor Swimming Pool ©Mikael Bénard for AW²

The indoor swimming pool and the spa
The indoor pool is designed as a mountain cave pool. The stone-lined walls and floors are juxtaposed with the sculptured ceiling in wood. The reflection of the timber ceiling battens in the water creates a play of light with the sunlight filtering through the exterior courtyard lined in birch trees.

The spa at Six Senses Crans Montana is a major part of the project with over 2000 square meters of space at the heart of the building. The treatment rooms are organised around the Alpine Garden, and the wet treatment area offers a unique moment in multisensory experiences, all within the curved-walled space, as if excavated directly into the mountain face.

Sustainability is a crucial aspect of the Six Senses Crans Montana hotel. The use of local materials such as quartzite, larch, oak, and slate roof is not only a nod to traditional local dwellings but also helps reduce the environmental impact of the hotel. Inside the hotel, AW² has used materials such as polished natural stone, brushed and textured antique bronze, thick natural leather, and natural wool textiles to create a warm, authentic, and sustainable atmosphere.

AW² ‘s approach to sustainability is based on two strands: social and environmental sustainability. They design their projects in a way that offers guests an experience that reflects the local culture and supports local skills and customs. Furthermore, they use materials that are sustainably sourced, have a low carbon impact, and have a negligible effect on their surroundings.

Byakko Restaurant ©Mikael Bénard for AW² and Wild Cabin Restaurant, credit Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Reda Amalou & Stéphanie Ledoux, Partners at AW² commented:
“Our philosophy is to create spaces with a single narrative and feel. We limit the range of materials, create variations of the same theme, and establish a continuity in design. This is what establishes the identity of each of our projects. We believe in the idea of ‘destination within the destination’, where each space is designed in continuity but tells its own story. This approach allows us to create memorable experiences for our guests, with a strong connection to the design and the surroundings.”

About AW2 architecture & interiors
AW2 is an international architectural practice and design studio based in Paris, with offices in Geneva and Montpellier, and a partner office in Vietnam. AW² is led by Reda Amalou who founded it in 1997, and Stéphanie Ledoux who joined the practice in 2000, becoming partner in 2003.

With projects in 40 different countries, the practice is a made up of a multidisciplinary design team that takes on all aspects of a project, from a large-scale urban plan and luxury eco-resorts, right the way down to the bespoke furniture and fittings.

AW² have firmly established themselves as the preferred architects and designers for the world’s most highly regarded hotel and resort operators, subsequently also earning an international reputation for quality high-end design across residential, education, commercial and projects.

AW² has collected accolades such as MIPIM Best Hotel Award for the Six Senses Con Dao resort, the MIPIM Best Hotel Awards 2023 nomination for Banyan Tree AlUla, the Build Architecture Award for Best International Architecture & Design Studio – Paris, and four nominations for the AFEX Grand Prize in French Overseas Architecture for Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam, the Lycée Français in Amman, Jordan, Ani Private Resort & Art Academy in Sri Lanka and Kasiiya Papagayo eco-lodge in Costa Rica.

Fact Sheet
Architecture & Interiors: AW² architecture & interiors, Paris – Reda
Amalou & Stéphanie Ledoux
Furniture Design: AW² and Reda Amalou Design
Client: CM RESORT SA (Project owner), 1875 Finance SA (Client representative), IRBIS
Consulting (Project owner assistant), EDIFEA (Design & Build).
Operator: Six Senses Hotel Resorts Spas
Project Manager: EDIFEA SA
Consultants: JPPSA, Architect of record – Building 1
Agence GBO – Building 2
EDIFEA SA, General Contractor
NFIC, Structural & Civil Engineering
Cooks&Ass., Lighting
Valsmart, Electrical Engineer
Maxitec Sarl, P.Socchi, DHL, MEP Engineering
CSD INGENIEURS, Acoustic Engineering
Ecofire, Fire Engineering
Conception Cuisine, Kitchen Consultant
LeaderSpa Pro SA, Spa Consultant
Dtech, Audio-Vidéo Consultant
Denogent SA, Landscape
Alberto Amura, Environmental Healing
Wood design & manufacturing: ARCA Ebénisterie (Drop-Off and indoor pool ceilings)

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