“Eden” for design lovers

What happens when famous architects are brought together to design a hotel complex? Lake Garda is home to the result: five renowned architectural creators joined forces to create the exclusive Eden Reserve, a haven for design lovers.

The area around Lake Garda has more than its fair share of magnificent hotels that beckon with superlatives. And people who dream of a vacation hideout offering “architecture de luxe” will feel especially drawn to Eden Reserve. After all, the resort bears the hallmarks of as many as five internationally lauded architects. Design lovers will find a cornucopia of delights: each building on the 78-hectare estate is one of a kind. And each one offers an unobstructed view of the idyllic Lago di Garda.

Olive groves, cypress trees, expansive lawns: even the gardens at the resort have the air of the Garden of Eden. The responsibility of sought-after Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea, also known as the “tree collector”, they are an upmarket chillout zone that slots harmoniously into its natural surroundings.

Glass mosaics play with colour

It is almost as though the facade of the Eden Reserve clubhouse is trying to “outshimmer” the lake. Clad with glass mosaic panels, it plays with the blue of the water and the green of the hills. This transparent eye-catcher was designed by architect Matteo Thun, who also enjoys an excellent reputation as a furniture and glass designer.

A shimmering welcome: the clubhouse facade at Eden Reserve.

While Thun’s work can be viewed by Eden Reserve guests behind the unusual clubhouse facade as well, his designs are also in constant use. The interiors of the bright, open rooms were also designed by the architect, as were the “Landmark Apartments” at the resort. With an abundance of wood, glass and stone, the approach is reminiscent of the region’s traditional architecture.

On the other hand, “Eden” also includes a reinterpretation of the traditional orangery by British star architect David Chipperfield. The elegant wooden pergolas are especially eye-catching. While the slatted roof casts striped shadows on the patios, the slender posts continue the visual impression of the surrounding olive trees. Floor-to-ceiling windows and an overhanging top floor allow superb views across the landscape.

Star architect David Chipperfield was another of the Eden Reserve architects.

The two villas designed by Studio David Chipperfield Berlin are the stuff of dreams. Since they follow the topography of the hillside, their single- or two-storey structures are offset from one another.

Other villas that give the resort its special flair were planned and furnished by Austrian architect Marc Mark, who likewise left his special mark on “Eden”. Situated in an idyllic position on the slopes, their spacious character with a Mediterranean touch makes a distinctive impression.

A Mediterranean Garden of Eden

Sweeping glass frontages, olive parquet and flooring made of the region’s natural stone travertine create their singular look. Exterior facades with exposed concrete, plastering or natural stone give the houses a stylish loft character and create a striking yet harmonious contrast to the Mediterranean landscape.

Water sports and the lake provided inspiration for Marc Mark’s interior of the “Eden” villas: “The powers released while sailing, the precision details of the Riva boats – all this will be found by guests at the resort. Cantilever furniture contributes lightness to preserve the distribution of light and spaciousness of the rooms.” The materials appear robust and dignified, the interchange of forms in the interior has a dynamic feel: “This dynamic solidness is timeless and authentic.”

At home with a Pritzker prize-winner

The fifth maestro in the group of “Eden” planners is famous US architect Richard Meier. A holder of the Pritzker Prize, Meier created a snow-white dream for the resort: a villa with two storeys, straight lines and rooms flooded with light inspired by one of Le Corbusier’s residential buildings. Subdued colour accents and unostentatious designer furniture put the finishing touches on this refined retreat. And all this conforms with Meier’s famous statement: “The most important thing is light. Light is life.”

Meier describes three key factors that dictated his “Eden” design: The visual relationship between the villas and their local context. The direction of the sun. And the location on a steep hill. His strategy behind the design? Two rectangular bodies running parallel and crosswise to the slope of the hill were arranged perpendicular to one another and stacked on top of each other. The upper building houses the living room and bedroom, positioned against the hill. This arrangement maximizes the view over the lake, while using the southern aspect and the natural light.

Privacy with a superb view

By contrast, the lower base-like storey contains a garage that leads onto the access road. Set aside from one another, the buildings create an intermediate level that serves as the main entrance. Each level opens out onto patio areas. While enjoying their privacy and the differing furnishings, the guests will appreciate their own special view.

With a total of 18 individually designed places of accommodation, the Eden Reserve promises a very special kind of relaxation for lovers of architecture. The rooms and suites, the “Landmark Apartments” and exclusive private villas sit discreetly amid Enzo Enea’s awe-inspiring park landscape.

Luxury created by the experts

Pools, a wellness oasis with spa, and the fine-dining restaurant La Celeste create an entirely tranquil feeling. And anybody who wants to admire architectural masterpieces from earlier times will find many fascinating, beautiful villas and palaces near the modern “Eden” resort.

It is no surprise that the region around Lake Garda has supplied artists throughout the ages with inspiration for their masterpieces. Nevertheless, it is the first time that five contemporary top architects from Europe and the USA have come together to create a luxurious hideaway.

Eden as a relaxing retreat

The result is in line with the current trend of offering special travel experiences. Culture, tradition and the benefits of the surrounding area are highlighted from a modern perspective. This is a philosophy that was also pursued for the new Six Senses resorts on Ibiza and in Israel, and for Arnaud Zannier’s new resort in Vietnam.

As a once classy, sophisticated holiday resort, Gardone has been given a new lease of life. The Eden Reserve rekindles the glamour of bygone days, a glistening star on the region’s skyline.

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Text: Elisabeth Schneyder
Translation: Rosemary Bridger-Lippe
Images: Eden Reserve, Hotel & Villas