An elegant and avant-garde seven-legged dragon with an unsettled and changing dorso, according to the seasons. A homage to Maestro Carlo Mollino, in which the solutions thought up for his Casa Capriata in Gressoney (AO) have been both dramatically developed and reinvigorated. A spellbinding game of contrasts within the interiors, to be discovered gradually as you become more and more immersed in your exploration.
The "Slow Horse" project, realised by a team from the regions of Friuli and Piedmont for Elasticospa+3, is a refined and innovative construction, which has been awarded various international architecture prizes (Mies van der Rohe Award 2013, Premio Pida Alberghi 2013).
The Hotel 1301 Inn is built on a type of pedestal, deriving from the ground floor of the old hotel, which was partially demolished and converted into a reception area and café. The main nucleus is erected on top of this, three floors prefabricated in wood, iron and cement, supported by seven enormous concrete pillars.
During the design phase, the architect chose to "play" with the context, by revealing a more urban design on the south-facing façade, which overlooks the nearby residential buildings, and a more traditionally alpine version on the north-east façade, enjoying panoramic vistas of the Carnic Alps. The game continues in the form of the roofing which, alongside its complex system of reclining floors, interacts with atmospheric phenomena (rain, ice, snow), creating natural sculptures or small-scale cascades, depending on the temperature and season.
To build the exterior image we thought about how snow works. This building was to design, work and play with the snow, which is an interesting element with a volume, a colour, a force, and is the reason why people go to the mountains. – Architect Stefano Pujatti
The sunlight and the view of the landscape were the driving force behind the decision regarding the orientation of the 37 rooms, all with triple-height wooden balconies looking out across a central space. During the interior design phase, the architect continued to play his game, between obvious contrasts (the irregular flooring made from terracotta and cement), "revisited" choices in Alpine style (the square-shaped larch plywood furnishings) and unexpected surprises (the chain curtains on the rooms' wardrobes, which display images of skiers and climbers from times gone by).
The pellet fireplace
The positioning of the fireplace in the first-floor hall was anticipated during the designing of the hotel, with the creation of a chimney stack on the roof and a designated corner in the axis being formed by the meeting of the main roofing bearings. The focal point of the building, the hall is a space with over 8-metre high ceilings, vast windows with mountain views and an opening onto the three balcony floors. It is dominated by a cylindrical chandelier, on which the celebrated photo of Carlo Mollino wearing his aviator goggles is printed.
The energy demand for this vast space could not be entirely satisfied by the under-floor heating and radiant elements installed on the balconies. It was therefore necessary to introduce an additional supportive source of heating, ideally in line with the environmentally-friendly choices made for the entire building.
The installation of a pellet fireplace (MCZ's Vivo 80) had to take account of the entirely wooden structure of the building, which is subject to rigorous fire-safety regulations. Moreover, it was necessary to draw air as fuel from the outside, so as to honour the building's class A energy efficiency rating, whilst avoiding the influx of cold air from the outside.
The architect designed wrought iron cladding, which envelops the firebox and expands to both the right and the left, respecting the load-bearing roofing axes with two expansive benches. The signs of grinding in the cladding, left purposely in view, and the bolts, equally as pronounced, emphasise the industrial and "mechanical" aspect of the product, which finds itself in keeping with the overall context of the hotel.
"The fireplace has been designed for daily use, during the hours in which the greatest turnout of guests is expected, which is from approximately 14:00 until 23:00, and therefore for roughly 10 hours per day", explains Ippazio Ciardo, president of the Piancavallo 1265 cooperative, responsible for running the hotel. Approximately one and a half bags of pellets are used each day, which allows us to achieve temperatures of around 20-21°C in the hall, as well as on the balconies on the upper floors, thanks to the upwards diffusion of the heat.
"We only use Pellet En Plus", explains Ciardo, "since it burns in its entirety and leaves no residues, making cleaning operations incredibly quick".
The Piancavallo 1265 cooperative has already installed dozens of MCZ stoves in local ski rental facilities, lodges, sports facilities, bars and restaurants.
"The pellet heating is, in our opinion, irreplaceable", concludes Ciardo. "With wood, we would not be able to program the switching on and off according to the arrival times of our clientèle, and we would be forced to ask our personnel to perform complex loading and cleaning operations".
PRODUCT: MCZ Vivo 80 Pellet
LOCATION: Hotel 1301 Inn in Piancavallo (PN)
FIREPLACE CLADDING DESIGN: Architect Stefano Pujatti (Elasticospa+3)
INSTALLATION: Massimo Cappucci (Atlantica Fuoco e Fiamme Srl)
ENERGY CONSULTANCY: Eng. Luca Infanti (Systecdesign)
OWNER: Cooperativa Piancavallo 1265
PHOTOGRAPHS: Gaal Miklos, Franco Zanussi, Elasticospa