Individuality from a single source
You move into a new house or apartment and have to replace all the furnishings – or you could let Dany Widmer design you a harmonious work of art, a true ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, to meet your needs and fulfil your desires.
Clients are in very good hands with Widmer, because he takes the time to find out how their personal space needs to be designed to make them feel completely comfortable, making their home a very personal space. As creative head of Widmer Wohnen, Dany Widmer manages this second-generation family business together with his brother. The company’s long experience is something their clients can benefit from: for that certain extra something at home.
There’s a central theme running through all Dany Widmer’s designs for living spaces. Talking to me, he explains his own special design ethos and his very different approach. We meet in the charming village of S-chanf in the Engadine. There in the centre of the old village stands the Widmer family’s centuries-old house extended over the years to accommodate several generations and now used as a holiday home and exhibition piece. As I go on a voyage of discovery around the house, I see the most amazing things and sense a huge amount of creativity that I find extremely impressive. Surprising and unique solutions have been found to meet a wide range of living requirements. Where else would I ever see a kitchen with units faced in sturdy saddle leather that’s comfortable showing its scars? Or a bathroom where hand-cut wooden shingles seem to grow out of the ceiling? And there’s something that doesn’t immediately strike me but really is Dany Widmer’s signature: he works with as few different materials as possible, and then uses special methods to treat these surfaces in different ways to differentiate them. This conscious reduction produces a clear style that is a pleasing and very public statement that sets the Widmer philosophy apart from conventional off-the-shelf solutions provided by other interior decor designs.
Only Swiss Pine wood, typical of the Engadine, has been used in the family house. This is found at numerous points in the interior decoration, sometimes rough-sawn, sometimes brushed, split, or machined by Dany Widmer with a chain saw or just as old wood with all its rustic charm. The same is true of the wonderful matching Marron Bois granite; it is polished, crushed, beaten, and treated with water jet to show off the stone’s many qualities. How does Dany Widmer approach his work in practice? How does he tackle a domestic project, when a client convinced by his philosophy gives him a commission? What steps does he take to achieve the goal they’ve worked out between them? First and foremost are always the intense discussions. These give Widmer a sense of what the client would like, of what his personal expectations are. Dany Widmer has the gift of being able to discern the client’s hopes and desires for his perfect home – desires that people sometimes don’t even know they have – and then fulfil them. Otherwise these needs can often stay hidden inside us. Not with Widmer Wohnen. Once the ideas have been exchanged, Dany Widmer develops an idea, imagining the whole room down to even the smallest accessories. He starts on the ‘soft’ details that are essential for creating the whole look. This means designing perfect lighting to create the right atmosphere for the interior setting. It is only after this that he tackles the ‘hard’ aspects and decides on designs for wall, ceiling and floor coverings. Taking the type of client into consideration, he selects the perfect material to carry through the design’s central theme. His inventiveness is given form in a creation that is perfect down to the smallest detail.
The house in S-chanf is a sort of test lab for Dany Widmer when he meets new clients face to face. He studies how they react to the different materials and the unusual ways they have been used in the decor. ‘There are no ‘wrong’ materials,’ he explains. All materials have their advantages – and their disadvantages too. The only question is whether the client can live with the ‘disadvantage’ or may even welcome it, because he finds the way that a material ages very beautiful. Widmer Wohnen works together with reliable partners who give shape to Dany’s creative ideas and whose high-quality products contribute to what really is a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’. Carefully selected natural stones, meticulously finished, are supplied by Real-Stein AG and extravagant wellness showers and bath and kitchen fittings by Dornbracht Schweiz AG. Each living space is bespoke and unique, with a character that expresses the client’s personality. Many of the designs are Widmer’s own, for example, the illuminated curtains and bedheads with motifs embroidered by the haute couture textile manufacturer Forster Rohner AG. The accessories for sale in their own shop in Gossau will give you a first impression. Everything must be in harmony; from the furnishings to the decor, everything is coordinated by Widmer Wohnen exclusively for a particular project. Each house, each apartment is designed straight from the heart to be a true experience, because from the very beginning to the handover at the end, there’s just one person in control. These emotions are tangible and it’s not unusual for Dany Widmer to be rewarded by a little tear in the eyes of his client.