The Renowned Designer and Artist Shows Us Around His St. Moritz Hideaway
Rolf Sachs hurtles down a toboggan run made from natural ice and invites us into his high art-bedecked Swiss mountain retreat in the first installment of our new film series, In Residence. Directed by Matthew Donaldson, today’s short tells the story of the building that was originally erected for the 1928 Winter Olympics, when officials and VIPs filled stands on the roof and a band played national anthems from the balcony. Sachs rescued the structure from dereliction, restored it to its former glory and brought in a period-relevant collection of design. “It is very clearly a Bauhaus building, a functional building. There are no decorative aspects,” says Sachs, who has paired the utilitarian architecture with pieces from Dutch furniture maker Gerrit Rietveld and the Suprematist movement. Sachs is at the heart of St. Moritz life. “I’m very involved with everything in town. The locals accept me as a local,” says the 57-year-old designer, a committee member of many clubs, including the St. Moritz Tobogganing Club that maintains the town’s famous Cresta Run. His connection to the Engadine region was the subject of his recent exhibition Herzschuss in St. Moritz, in which he poetically reinterpreted some of the familiar motifs of the region. “Having been brought up here I understand all of the materials, the originality of this place,” he says. “One aspect that is especially fascinating is the light. It is crystal clear, making it look like the horizon has been cut out with scissors.”
A Slow-mo Session with Sam McKnight
Director William Snieg Conjures an Underwater Ballet with Crystal and Clouds
Submerged glasses and decanters by fine crystalware makers Lobmeyr, Baccarat and Saint Louis are animated with billows of color in this short by Parisian art director William Snieg. Collaborating with set designer Marcel van Doorn—who devised the formula for the multihued injections—and interior stylist and regular Wallpaper* contributor Leila Latchin, Snieg aimed to capture the elegant movements of the mixed-liquid clouds as if a magical ballet. “I wanted to transcribe the grace of these figures, that look sometimes like fine silk, sometimes like a smoky mist, against a pure base—crystal,” explains Snieg, who art directs campaigns and short films for Louis Vuitton and Dior. In selecting the crystal, Latchin sourced from companies whose centuries-long histories are filled with stories. “Lobmeyr, Baccarat and Saint Louis have all attracted prestigious clients requesting extraordinary commissions,” she explains. “Each boasts an incredible archive and masterful artisans whose skill transforms molten crystal into these exquisite pieces.”
STATS FROM ON SET
Lobmeyr drinking set no. 240
This very thin crystal, blown to a thickness of 0.7 to 1.1mm, is referred to as “muslin glass,” after the finely woven fabric. It looks very delicate but is remarkably resilient due to its elasticity and construction.
Baccarat’s Harcourt decanter and glasses
Designed in 1841 (making it the oldest set in the collection), the flat facet cut magnifies the light in the crystal.
Saint Louis Bartholdi decanter
Founded in the 16th century and named after King Louis XV, Saint Louis is the oldest of the three companies. The decanter is engraved with many facets decorated with Venetian cuts.
Marcel Van Doorn’s undisclosed formula mixes a white liquid base (with a greater density than water) with powerful dyes to create a glittering color and graceful movement.
A glass tank was filled with water and the crystalware carefully submerged and composed. Various techniques introduced the dyes into the tank—after that it was up to the liquids to work their magic.
One tank collapsed during shooting as the water pressure on its wall was too great, and a second also finished in the trash.
Over 600 liters of water were used.
Klein blue; byzantium purple; vermillion; lemon yellow; fuschia.
The Red Epic, a video camera that shoots close-up details at 240 frames per second in 2,000 pixel resolution. The lens was a Zeiss Master Prime (one of cinema’s best).
Acceleration/deceleration from 1,000% up to 2,000%. Color calibration executed with DaVinci Resolve.