The Glacier House by Gus Wustermann

Living with limited square-footage or a cramped condo layout does not have to mean thinking small about constructing and decorating your space, as illustrated by glacier-inspired interior design idea for a small apartment in Switzerland. Contemporary and classy at a glance, modern in color and material, this remodeled apartment is clearly cool in more ways than one – and the back-lit white surfaces do almost seem like sheets of ice between a resident and the outside world.

Glacier House inside

Unique modern staircase Modern staggered staircase

The concept for this clever remodel by Gus Wusterman was derived from the surrounding snow-and-glacier-capped mountains of Lucerne. The design idea carries throughout the small apartment, making the entire place seem more like a landscape than a series of individual rooms and thus bigger and rendering detailed decor largely unnecessary. This design thread culminates in a tiered modern staircase leading up to a rooftop deck from which the rest of the city and mountains can be seen all around.

Plywood and white surfaces

More than simply tying the spaces together visually, the use of these tiered forms and layered structures makes for a surprisingly dynamic and customizable living experience – nooks and crannies are spread around for seating purposes and as storage niches. The visual complexity of the entire composition makes for an ever-changing interior landscape where the decor is inherent in the architecture itself and the once small-seeming space becomes a larger place for all kinds of interaction. The entry area, living room, kitchen, dining, bedroom and even the bathroom become an amorphous collection of spaces strung together that can be closed off or left open to connect the entire interior design.

The Glacier House bedroom

“To give the impression of a landscape and make the ‘glacier’ work, we let all the programs disappear. the programmatic elements of the kitchen disappear fully, partly into the glacier and partly into the rock,” says the architect. “So no element is permanently occupied by any program, giving us the association of a kitchen, rather than a sculpture. To dissolve the tension of the other long wall we packed the existing skylight into a cubic opening (the other rock)  and let the wall disappear by suggesting an opening; a huge light up textile curtain. behind that curtain the entrance, the wardrobe and even paintings can be hidden or exposed.”