The new headquarters of Blue Ice, a company that designs and makes climbing and mountain equipment, is in Les Houches, a small village in the French Alps, close to the Mont Blanc. A wide roof marks the design, and follows the natural slope of the site to blend as naturally as possible with the mountainous landscape. The facades are made of thick oak planks that recall the forests in the area. These elements, also used to build the roofs, keep the tree bark and have no artificial treatment, preserving their natural texture. With the aim of reducing the tannins and preventing marks, the logs were stored previously outdoors during three months, and washed with rainwater. On the north and south sides the panels are placed parallel to the facade, but on the remaining sides they are positioned perpendicular to evoke the uneven profile of a tree grove.
In contrast, the interiors are finished with silky wood claddings to express softness and reflect the even light that comes in through skylights, organized in continuous lines in the north-south direction. The most unique space of the project is the entrance atrium, which gives access to a terrace that is open to all the visitors and offers panoramic views of the valley.
Mont-Blanc Base Camp
Kengo Kuma & Associates; Kengo Kuma, Matthieu Wotling (socios encargados partners in charge); Silvia Fernández (project manager), Baptiste Lobjoy, Miguel Reyes (asistentes assistants) —equipo de proyecto project team—
Top Frederic Reinert (supervisión de calendario en obra y coordinación site supervision scheduling and coordination); Egis Grand Est (ingeniería mecánica y estructura de hormigón mechanical and concrete structure engineer); Barthes (estructura de madera wooden structure engineer); Lta (mediciones quantity surveyor); Ar-C (fachada facade engineer); Acoustb (acústica acoustician)
Michel Denancé, Kengo Kuma & Associates