Text description provided by the architects. Designed by the architectural practice of IttenBrechbühl and constructed by the main contractor HRS, Modern Times Hotel enjoys a perfect location amongst the hills above the town of Vevey. It sits adjacent to the motorway for easy access by car, only a stones-throw from the new Charlie Chaplin Museum with the mountains, the heart of Vevey itself, and the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of the Lavaux vineyards closeby. Thanks to its highly visible location, the buildings seems to welcome its visitors with open arms just after they leave the main road. Modern Times Hotel has become a new gateway to the region and is emblematic of Charlie Chaplin’s presence in Vevey.
At the very heart of nature
The hotel is located between the main roads to the north and the quiet residential quarter of the town to the south which is still under development. By way of its position, lying parallel to the hillside, the building itself both defines and serves to protect the whole of the buildable area of the site.
The building is perfectly embedded into the naturally sloping topography of the site taking full advantage of its relief and surrounded by a large landscaped garden. At the heart of this park one may walk amongst the colours of the Mediterranean and come across a small pond adjacent to the main terrace on the Southern aspect of the hotel. Protected by a canopy, the terrace offers great views to the mountainside of the “Rochers de Naye”.
A dynamic facade
The building stretches along the length of the site but its façade has been designed as a rhythm of elements broken by only two folds which announce the main entrance to the hotel and the location of the restaurant. Ribbons of metal that run all around the building otherwise highlight its horizontality. Panels of warmly coloured vertical glazing– brown, bronze, and grey – give the building an elegant, yet calm, character. The northern façade of the hotel reads as a sequence of planes which change in their appearance according ones particular viewpoint and also with the changing natural light.
A sequence of surroundings
The ground floor is a unique and open space featuring the main reception, restaurant, lounge bar, and conference facilities. The different activities function independently of the main hotel and allow it to have a life all through the year. The decor of the different spaces are distinguished by their own particular atmosphere: In the reception area, a large kinetic sculpture commissioned from the artist Charles Morgan and inspired by Chaplin’s lm “Modern Times” adds metallic touches to a colour palette which is predominantly black and white; in the conference rooms, an elegant floor of solid oak; fresh and lively colours of purples, oranges, and blues give the lounge bar the feeling of a New York speakeasy; the restaurant features Versailles parquet flooring and its atmosphere is more intimate with large lamps illuminating a softer palette of beige and grey punctuated by blues and greens.