The Design-Forward Austrian Region You've Never Heard Of

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The sun is still rousing from its slumber as I walk into Krumbach moor, the forest blanketed in silvery mist. While I’m here in appreciation of nature, in the distance, a steeply-pitched shingled roof steals the scene.

Cutting a modernist figure in this storybook landscape, the Salgenreute Chapel’s clean lines and honey hue hints at its youthfulness –being a new incarnation of a chapel that stood for 200 years. With time, its silver fir cladding will deepen and darken with the effects of the sun, just like the modern farmhouses in this area.

Inside, straight-backed pews match the blond timber walls and floor, facing out to the forest through a dramatic pane of glass, seemingly as much in worship of Mother Nature herself. This symbiosis of nature and design is what the Bregenzerwald region in the state of Vorarlberg in western Austria does best. Well known for their architecture and crafts for decades within Europe, word is only now getting out further afield.

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