For their first venture in a new series exploring the intimate side of a designer’s life, Nowness takes a look at the alpine-obsessed artist Rolf Sachs and his Olympic Stadium-turned-holiday home in St. Moritz. The dynamic London-based designer spent much of his youth in Switzerland, and since shifting his focus from investment banking decades ago, has continued to create works that are as astounding as those he collects.
Nowness’ visit to Sachs’ home reveals more than an accomplished man fascinated with all facets of modern design; it highlights the environment that inspires deconstructed furniture pieces like “Stack-ed,” a desk that draws upon “the aesthetics of storing and drying freshly cut timber,” and “Insepar-able,” a sleigh handcrafted by Swiss sled and luge-maker Graf Schilitten which also doubles as a coffee table. “Insepar-able” is also one of several pieces in “Herzschuss,” an exhibition devoted entirely to a fresh take on artisanal Swiss handiwork reflecting the region he calls home.
Sachs was trained on the all-natural luge in St. Moritz by Olympic gold medalist Nino Bibbia at the age of 13, and has been “addicted to the run” since then. His enduring affinity for Switzerland and the bob run led him to restore the derelict Olympic Stadium several years ago, a venue which served both the 1928 and 1948 Winter Games. His cohesive vision of bringing the outdoors in has led to a cozy Bauhaus ambiance, a place comprised of local pine and stone that says as much about the world surrounding the space as it does the man who built it.
“It is really a joy to see, how they built this in three weeks and at the end of the season it just melts away,” Sachs says of the mile-long, environmentally sustainable bob run.
As much as his own home is a reflection of his own creative thinking, the pieces that fill it are also a clear indication of artists and designers he admires: his distinct furniture collection spans Marc Newson (the next subject in Nowness’ new series) and Gerrit Rietveld to Ettore Sotsas and the Campana brothers. Sachs enjoys a technical but fluid take on design, one informed by growing up around his father, German artist Gunter Sachs. “My father was a big art collector, so I was already exposed to fantastic art as a young child, and on top of it it was something which fascinated me,” he says.
The video is brimming with beautiful imagery and sweeping views of St. Moritz outside Sachs’ Olympic home. Veteran photographer and filmmaker Matthew Donaldson captures the celebrated designer in his essence, and shows how the combination of nature, sport and art have driven his approach to wholly considered design.
Exclusive stills courtesy of Matthew Donaldson