Nestled high above Switzerland’s breathtaking Engadin Valley, the On Mountain Hut is a nod to the brand's origins and a celebration of their latest collection. Over the course of a year—in a certain departure from their usual purview—the company's in-house design team conceived a sustainable hut to be installed 8,200 feet above sea level.
The elemental structure measures just 204 square feet, and it features a living area with a wood-burning stove, a communal table, and a wet room supplied by a rainwater filtration system. Additional creature comforts include a solar-powered lamp and a dry toilet. A mini deck overlooks a glacial lake, while the lofted sleeping area serves up some of the most awe-inspiring vistas.
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The temporary mountain dwelling stands in the very place where it all began. While hiking in the region in 2010, co-founders Olivier Bernhard, Caspar Coppetti, and David Allemann pieced together a business plan that would become the cult-favorite athletic brand.
The startup has experienced a spectacular rise since then, transforming the running shoe with CloudTec, their innovative, cloud-like cushioning. Now available in more than 6,000 specialty running stores across 50 countries, On has expanded to apparel, accessories, and now a three-piece outdoor collection dropping today.
Thilo Alex Brunner, On’s head of design and founder of design studio BMCO, served as chief architect for the net-zero micro cabin. "Part of the ‘Back to the Source’ idea is to demonstrate just how few things are needed to have, hopefully, the stay of a lifetime," he says. It's an exercise in "Reduction as the ultimate luxury."
This reductive approach is evident in the hut’s simple design and material palette. "It’s mainly a modular, wooden construction," Thilo explains. "Window frames and facade elements are made from metal. Easy to be put together and easy to take apart again. Cozy on the inside, protective on the outside. That’s about it."
Anyone willing to make the trek can visit the On Mountain Hut, but only a select few can stay overnight. In alignment with On’s commitment to sustainability, the hut will leave no trace when it's dismantled in September.
Architect of Record: Thilo Alex Brunner