Although they're best known for their work with high-profile brands like The Row, Monique Lhuillier, and Nobu restaurants, Montalba Architects also has a knack for scaled-down spaces. The firm is based in Los Angeles, California, and Lausanne, Switzerland, and one of their latest projects is an interstitial art pavilion in Bex, Switzerland.
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Montalba Architects created the pavilion for the annual Bex & Arts sculpture triennial. For the past 32 years, the event has transformed Szilassy Park into an outdoor gallery with uninterrupted views of the surrounding Alps. The pavilion housed a digital fabrication studio, an exhibition space, a small bookstore, and a visitor center.
"The triennial focused on creative energy, strength, force of nature, war, dynamism of progress, technology, solar or wind energy, and sustainability," says founder David Montalba FAIA, SIA. "Invited artists seized this theme to speak to the world in which we live, and of both our use, and sometimes overuse, of energy."
The bones of the 430-square-foot structure consist of shelves, framework, and cabinetry—with all materials, fabrication, and construction sourced locally. The lightweight structure is set on a movable, low-impact foundation, and it's designed to be easily disassembled and reused for future events.
The "skin" of the pavilion is made up of black vertical cement boards with custom perforations that allow light to enter the interior. "The contrast of the structure within the serene Swiss landscape is furthered through the contrasting palette of light plywood color and the pavilion’s saturated black perforated skin facade," explains Montalba.
All of the pavilion's furniture is custom made out of the same wood as the rest of the structure. In line with the transportable nature of the project, each piece can be folded and stored within the structure. The pavilion is currently located in the Bex Salt mines, and it remains open to the public.