Dolder Grand Hotel

Zurich, Switzerland


Foster and Partners

Interior Designers
United Designers

Implementation Architect
Itten + Brechbuhl Partners

Edmund Sumner, Peter Hebeisen, Stefan Schmidlin
Leisure and Retail

Architecture + Environment

Housed in a building that is part medieval fortress, part 19th-century château, the The Dolder Grand is one of Switzerland’s best-known hotels.

The light provides a visual cohesion and a five-star ambience across a wide range of areas: the exterior, entrance, reception lobbies, lounges, restaurants, meeting rooms, bar, ballroom, grand suites and a spa.

A number of competing interests added to our challenge.

Besides respecting the demands of local conservationists and neighbouring residents, we also responded to the juxtaposition of the historical and the contemporary architecture, taking care to conserve original features such as the hand-painted ceilings.

The double-height space of the bar is reached from the upper level. This is a bar to see and to be seen in, lit to glamorous dramatic effect by more than 80 custom-made Swarovski ‘floating’ candles sparkling against the black curtain backdrop. We also lit the curved, metal-bead to bring focus to the rear of the bar, which also acts as a screen for guests as they descend the grand staircase.

The magnificent pool area has commanding views out to the lake and surrounding mountains. Accentuating its textural quality, we washed light from a concealed slot detail down the stone wall that wraps from the exterior through to the interior. This wall narrows and spirals to a meditation space, passing by the reception and café environments. Our lighting design smoothly changes the artificial light from a cool daylight ambience to warm ‘candlelight’ as dusk arrives, easing the day/night transition through all seasons.

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