Nature is more than luxury

Green and glamour don’t have to be opposites. The resorts planned by the Head of Design at MH Residenz, Wolfgang Schille, speak the language of nature, but are still luxurious. Or precisely because of this! Instead of sealing the ground, they are built on forest floors, raindrops can be felt more intensely in the glamping tent and the stars in the sky glitter particularly beautifully in the outdoor hammock. Wolfgang Schille sees things that others don’t because he connects with nature, like a child running barefoot across meadows, jumping in puddles and burying his hands in mud. There is mindfulness in his work. And he has a lot to say about it.

How do you manage to grow new ideas?

The breeding ground for my intellectual and architectural approach lies in my very conscious perception of nature. As a versatile outdoor sportsman, I love all facets of movement in nature. Sun, rain, storms and snow are elements that ground and connect me.

How do you approach a project?

“See the things that others do not see”. This simple sentence by Le Corbusier, the important architect from the 20th century, characterises my thinking and my personal approach.

What does that look like in practice?

When it comes to resort planning, I first try to filter out the spirit of the place, the genius loci. But I also try to imagine what it means to create something here and what impact all future measures will have on the place.

Talking about location: how important is it for the planning?

Enormously important! Before I start with the actual planning, I always explore the surroundings. I ride flow trails, walk around the resort grounds, climb mountains for a view from above or get on a SUP to see the place from the water. I then pause in the forest or on a meadow, feel and consciously listen to myself.

Close to nature can also be rustic – how do you make the leap to luxury?

Today, almost everyone wants naturalness, but with a high level of comfort. However, this is largely defined by luxury. In a tent, a large shower with a mirror is already a plus. In a tiny house, it can also be a flat screen. But the greatest luxury is sitting on your own terrace or lying in an outdoor hammock and drinking a glass of good regional wine by candlelight while your e-bike charges next to you, isn’t it? Instead of wine, you can also choose fresh spring water of course. (Schille laughs)

Sounds like a mindful holiday – what else is on offer for mindful travellers?

As each accommodation unit has its own terrace, it is also a wonderful place to do morning sun salutations or morning meditation. I always integrate special areas into our projects that can be used in multiple ways. Yoga, qui gong, tai chi or meditation can be practised there, as can reading under the stars or listening to the sounds of nature.

How important is water in your projects?

Water is one of the most fascinating planning elements for me: it makes things flow, it attracts and it calms. Children become children again at streams, forgetting the time and perhaps not even realising that they are already wet down to their pants. And when it rains, the drops are more audible, especially in glamping tents – a nice feeling when falling asleep.

Your projects are very instagrammable. How do you manage to get guests to put their mobile phones aside and enjoy their holiday in the moment?

The planning, but above all the implementation, must focus on the essentials. The basic needs of hunger, sleep and personal hygiene must be met. Then comes the rest. And the rest is quite little: a harmonious landscape, flower meadows, watercourses and smooth lighting. The guest’s eye must be allowed to take a holiday. The planning should lead children back to nature, encourage them to play with their hands in the mud, explore meadows, observe butterflies and bees and make friends. This also applies to adults, of course…

photocredits: MH Residenz GmbH; Strohboid; Possegger Hideaways; Chalets & Glamping Nassfeld; Sonnentherme Lutzmannsburg