The Soul Retreat Giardino Ascona has surprised its guests with a make-over this season. The garden and pool area with terrace, bar, winter garden, lobby and yoga pavilion were redesigned with the support of designer Daniel Pouzet.
The artist Daniel Pouzet is one of the most fascinating designers in Paris. His projects are spread all over the world between Asia, Africa, Europe, the United States and Latin America and range from hotel resorts in the Philippines to villas in Greece and Ibiza, an ecological house in Mexico or floating furniture for the manufacturer Dedon. In spring 2021, Pouzet was responsible for the makeover of the five-star Hotel Giardino Ascona at Lake Maggiore.
The Giardino Ascona has been around since 1986, so it’s obvious that we are always adding new touches, remodelling and redesigning to meet the demands of our guests. Our motto is “un po dipiù” – a little bit more – and after getting to know some of Daniel’s projects, it was clear that we would work with him in Ascona.Giardino-CEO Daniela Frutiger
Idea & artistic approach
The location of the hotel bar was no longer ideal. Indoor bar and pool bar were to be combined, winter garden, lobby and reception as well as the yoga pavilion needed a new face. “We are always full of new ideas and have a clear idea of structures, but we also need new impulses, a view from “outside”, so we talked to Daniel and invited him to Ascona,” Daniela Frutiger describes the decision-making process. “Daniel combined our ideas with his artistic approach, a wonderful symbiosis, and the result and the feedback from our guests completely confirmed us.”
“Heaven of peace-feeling” is how Daniel Pouzet describes his first impression of the Giardino Ascona. For him, it is the different styles that give life to the hotel and the organisation around the central water pond, the terraces, the pool and garden that make you feel at home immediately. For the redesign, the name “Giardino” was a great source of inspiration for the designer: “You can play with it in so many ways. What we’ve done is a quick refresh intervention that keeps the soul of the house.” Lightness was the goal. Lots of white and light beige tones let nature take the stage. Floral design elements and hand-painted rugs by Daniel and his wife Marilena add exciting touches.
Designer Daniel Pouzet about the Giardino Ascona Makeover
Ticino combines the Italian “Dolce Vita” with the Swiss lifestyle. What do you associate with the region and Ascona in particular?
Daniel Pouzet: “Switzerland has always fascinated me, but what I knew was very different from what I discovered in Ascona. For me, discovering Giardino meant being on Lake Maggiore and in Ascona for the first time. This is not how I had imagined Switzerland. It’s a Mediterranean microclimate and dolce vita. Especially in spring with the snow-capped Alps as a backdrop, it’s more than a postcard. Palm trees projected on snowy mountains are a beautiful image for me.”
You say about yourself that you seek cultural diversity in all artistic fields. How have you expressed this diversity at Giardino Ascona?
Daniel Pouzet: “I like to talk about artistic fields because I don’t consider myself an architect. Even though I graduated twice as an architect, my professional experience and especially my life paths have led me into interior design, industrial design, art installations, graphic design and illustration. Above all, it has led me to explore the world and seek inspiration in the immensity of nature and people’s culture. I’ve always wanted to break down the boundaries between fields, so in all my projects I start with architecture and end with illustrations and paintings. This is not so much about Ascona, the city, but about nature, the climate and the dolce vita, the outdoor life. What surprised me were the palm trees and the impressive vegetation, so that was the starting point.”
What has been your inspiration for the floral design of this project?
Daniel Pouzet: “”The name “Giardino” is an endless source of inspiration. You can play with it in so many ways. What we have done here is a brief intervention to refresh it, which retains the soul of the project. It’s all about lightness here, so nature has the freedom to interpret all around.”
What do colours mean to you?
Daniel Pouzet: “Colours are life. I like to play with colours. Here in the Giardino, the existing colours are strong. The orange, the yellows, terracotta are very present, so we used mainly white and light beige tones and let the happy greens of nature take over everything.”
One of your specialities is carpet painting. Where does this technique come from and why did you bring it to Giardino Ascona?
Daniel Pouzet: “My wife Marilena came up with this idea about ten years ago. She is an artist, the creator of the carpet. When possible, we work together on the projects. We started the story of the carpets in the Philippines at the Nay Palad Resort in Siargao, and it has been enormously popular. Now we have finished the carpets at Giardino, and I must admit that it is much more exhausting than it seems. But it’s such a pleasure to then share the result with the hosts and the guests.”
How do you recover and regenerate?
Daniel Pouzet: “Spending time with my family, hiking, travelling. But travel in a different way than holidays. For example, we travelled around the world for three years in a “camper van”, from Alaska to Ushuaia, homeschooling our children, discovering the world, nature and local cultures. We took advantage of the freedom of not having a schedule and enjoying life to the fullest. That is an endless inspiration for me to this day.”
About Giardino Group
The Giardino Group includes a total of three hotels: the five-star hotels Giardino Ascona and Giardino Mountain in St. Moritz and the boutique hotel Giardino Lago in Minusio near Locarno, which is located directly at Lago Maggiore. For the summer in the Engadine mountains, the hotel concept in Champfèr adapts to the needs of summer guests as a Bed & Breakfast without star classification.
In culinary terms, the Giardino Hotels have already made an international name for themselves. Chef Rolf Fliegauf has cooked up two Michelin stars each for the hotels in Ascona and St. Moritz at the Ecco restaurant. Fliegauf was also awarded 18 points by GaultMillau Switzerland in 2019 as Rising Star of the Year. Behind the name Hide & Seek is the second restaurant concept of the hotels in Ascona and St. Moritz. Here, innovative, light and aromatic cuisine is celebrated with products and ingredients from the respective region. The menu of the Lago restaurant in the Giardino Lago is inspired by the cuisine of Italy and interprets traditional dishes in a modern, light way. The Ayurveda competence centre was founded in Ascona in 2016 and opened in St. Moritz in the same year. The two hotels also have a dipiù spa with their own dipiù cosmetics line.