The Öschberghof
Felix Löchner

Unhurried Luxury – Nestled in Nature

JOI-Design as Interior Architects

Relax and recuperate in spacious surroundings through golf, wellness and the culinary arts.

Our world never stops turning. The progress of technology is constantly offering us something new. Books, CDs, letters and e-mails, cameras, alarm clocks and maps now all belong to the province of the omnipresent smartphone. This device, which accompanies us everywhere and helps us in all our activities, also means that the world of work and the world of private life are bound ever more tightly together. There is less and less time in our day when we are there not for others but for ourselves alone. In today’s rapidly changing world, then, we feel an increasing need to “get away from it all”: a need for what has been called a “digital detox”, or a period in which, by forgetting all that is “digital”, we can recharge our batteries as human beings.

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This is where the Öschberghof hotel comes in. The 4-star hotel was opened in 1976 as a country club and golf club. Over the years it has developed additional specializations in wellness and conference hosting. With its idyllic location between the Black Forest, Lake Constance, and Switzerland, the hotel was constructed from what was originally the private residence of Karl Albrecht, founder of the Aldi supermarket chain, and remains still today under private management. A complete renovation of the luxury hotel has allowed the Öschberghof to meet even more comprehensively the ever-evolving needs of its guests. The watchword here is “deceleration”. Holiday-makers relax and recuperate by playing golf on the 45-hole golf course, hiking through the natural wonders of the Black Forest region, spending time in the 5000-square-metre hotel spa area, or enjoying the wide range of culinary delights offered by the hotel’s many restaurants. The Öschberghof, moreover, is increasingly becoming a favoured destination also for shorter excursions and even for day-trips. A further focal point of the hotel’s governing concept is now a specialization in hosting conferences and conventions. For a company to hold its conferences in such luxurious surroundings imparts to its employees a sense of security and a feeling that they are valued and appreciated; the rest and relaxation that these surroundings provide has a positive effect, in its turn, on the employees’ motivation and thus on the company’s success. Construction of the hotel’s conference area is to be completed in the latter half of 2018.

Central to the design concept applied here by JOI-Design is a feeling of wellbeing engendered by Nature, by stillness, by authenticity, by simplicity, as well as by the roomy amplitude of the design itself. Such wellbeing does indeed require ample room, both inside and outside the space of the hotel itself – room to breathe, room to expand and room to relax. Here, surrounded by the magnificence of Nature, it was our goal to create a place which would come, for many, to count among their very favourite places.


The challenge facing us was how to preserve the original character of the hotel while infusing into it a new, modern, innovative design which would make the guests feel at home. To maintain a single coherent visual appearance, inspiration for the materials used and for the design vocabulary adopted was drawn both from the existing hotel fixtures and fittings and from the Black Forest environment. Our greatest efforts went into perfecting apparently minor details. Shingles, for example, like those used to construct the roofs of the surrounding farmhouses reappear, in a lighter and more restrained interpretation in the hotel’s interior gabled roof. And the lamps in the entrance area playfully recall dancing pine-cones – as in the world-famous cuckoo clock. They serve to emphasize a certain poetic aspect while at the same time establishing an imaginary plane which reconciles the loftiness of the gables with more humanly comfortable proportions. They hang, as if lightly floating, from the ceiling of the elegant, modern, cosy lobby. The whole concept bespeaks top-flight quality. All the materials, furnishings and lighting used, drawn from such outstanding manufacturers as Lasvit, Walter Knoll and Max Alto, were lovingly selected to meet the very highest quality standards. Our prime consideration at all times in developing the governing design concept was the individual guest and his or her sense of wellbeing. Depending upon his or her mood, the guest can meet friends in the lively atmosphere of the lobby or in the day bar, or withdraw, with a book from the hotel library, into the quiet and peaceful area around the fireplace.


The fine arts form a key component of the general design concept. Karl Albrecht was a great art-lover and collector of artworks. It was important to him that individual personality should be the animating force in the operation of the hotel and that this, moreover, should be clearly perceptible to the hotel’s guests. Works of art, consequently, are to be found everywhere throughout the hotel. Each of its floors is dedicated to a different artist, so that no room is without its work of art. Whereas the standard rooms are decorated with prints of artworks, in the suites there can be admired genuine original pieces of art. Many of these pieces are the creations of local artists. The hotel’s operators, indeed, have made it their specific concern to support local enterprises so as to strengthen relations between the hotel and the region surrounding it. Thus, guests are invited to browse through a collection of books related to the ancient German territory of Baden, and in the shop in the lobby there are products from the local region on sale, along with copies of the various artworks integrated into the hotel’s interior design.

Coming back from golf or other activities, the guests can “recharge their batteries” in the hotel’s spacious and luxurious complex of spa facilities. The four distinct spa areas offer the perfect form of relaxation for every kind of guest.

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In the Ladies’ Spa female guests can relax among themselves in a bright and elegant décor and atmosphere. In the Energy Spa it is the elements of fire and earth that set the tone, radiating an energy that is further enriched by the power of Granderbrunnen mineral water. The Asia Spa, in its turn, lets the guest immerse him- or herself in authentic Asian surroundings featuring bamboos and warm light – with corresponding wellness treatments included. Finally, the Harmony Spa’s salt wall exerts its beneficent effects upon the guests’ health, skin and psyche. The range of pleasures offered by this spacious spa area is rounded off by various different treatment rooms, an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, relaxation rooms, a hairdresser, and a fitness room.

The hotel’s design concept – a relaxed fusion of Nature and luxury – is maintained also in the rooms. The unhurried atmosphere they generate allows the guest to come to rest.

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We enter the room through a spaciously-designed dressing and changing area which takes us into a living area which is more reminiscent of a private home than of a typical hotel room. A very important detail is that the guest enjoys easily and naturally, from every part of the room, a view of the world outside. The very special floorplan layout adopted here ensures that from every important area of both room and bathroom one finds oneself looking out, if one wishes, into surrounding Nature. Guests can choose whether they wish to check their e-mails at the little free-standing writing desk the room provides or whether they wish to work seated on the corner of the sofa, since a large table is also provided here. Most choose the living area for this purpose, because working here, beside a nice cup of tea, does not feel like working at all. This is in keeping with the character of the hotel as a whole, in which the wellbeing and enjoyment of the guest are the primary concern.

The materials used in the rooms are of high quality, natural, and tastefully understated. Solid wood, oaken floorboards, virgin wool, and carpets made from natural materials in subdued and muted colours all go to ensure an atmosphere of luxury and wellbeing. The natural interiors also serve to draw the gaze out into the green world outside. They form, as it were, a frame for surrounding Nature and provide it, so to speak, with a stage.

Many small but carefully-considered details impart to the guest a sense of how highly the hotel esteems and values them. For example, at night, a movement detector will lead the guest to the bathroom and back to the bed, so there is no need for any troublesome fumbling in the dark for the light switch. Many such details may only be discovered by the guest after some acquaintance with the room – such as the little wooden compartments in the writing-desk drawers which are perfect for storing pens, pencils and other utensils – and such happy discoveries naturally tend to urge toward further exploration.

Although many guests seek out the Öschberghof precisely because they wish, during their stay, to be permanently “offline” and to be free of all such things as plugs, USB ports and high-speed Wi-Fi, this does not mean that the hotel does not make these things available – and available, indeed, in the greatest quantity and highest quality – to those guests who decide they want them. Log-in points and high-speed Internet are available both in the lobby and in all the rooms, as well as in the spa area. In the rooms mobile terminal devices can be connected both to the TV and to the music systems. Indeed, all digital devices can be linked up to one another and/or recharged simultaneously. The guest who wishes to do so can even set up digitally, in the fitness room, a running competition against a competitor in New York. It is these limitless possibilities that make the Öschberghof what it is: namely, an authentic, perfectly-functioning, but at the same time elegantly restrained and understated luxury hotel. 

The Öschberghof

iGuzzini as Manufacturers
Located in southern Germany, near the border with Switzerland and on the edge of the Black Forest, the Öschberghof is one of the most charming hotels in the five-star superior category. Its history dates back to 1976, when it was created by the entrepreneur Karl Albrecht." Aldi Süd

Located in southern Germany, near the border with Switzerland and on the edge of the Black Forest, the Öschberghof is one of the most charming hotels in the five-star superior category. Its history dates back to 1976, when it was created by the entrepreneur Karl Albrecht (Aldi Süd). Over the years and following various extensions it has become the ideal destination for anyone looking for a relaxing atmosphere where they can finally slow down and reconnect with nature.

The most recent extension that has turned the hotel into a real resort with three golf courses totalling 45 holes and a 5,000 m2 spa, was built between 2015 and 2019. The Almann Sattler Wappner architectural firm was commissioned to create the architectural structure while the interior design was entrusted to the Joi Design studio.

The project created by the ASW architects was based on the much appreciated tenets of the region’s traditional architecture and its refurbishment plan has optimised everyday hotel operations. The single or grouped buildings with their traditional pitched roofs are organised in a rhythmical staggered pattern that, thanks to a careful focus on scale and landscape, helps the complex blend in with its surroundings. The lighting design developed by the Notholt Lighting Design mirrors the linearity of ASW’s architectural design and the elegance of Joi Design’s interiors thanks to a number of key elements. These include luminaires that are deliberately concealed to enhance their light effects, sensors and control systems that offer the option of different light scenarios and colour temperature differentiation: 2700K for the hotel bedrooms and restaurants, but 3000 K for the corridors and event areas.

In some cases, special lighting installations have been created, like the mobile acoustic ceiling canopy in the ballroom that allows different lighting scenarios to be created to suit different room layouts. This is thanks to recessed Laser luminaires that have been combined with the artistic structure of glass globes made by the Baulmann company.

In the Ösch Noir restaurant that serves gourmet French cuisine, special round seating areas, separated by fine glass sphere chains, have been created to guarantee an exclusive, intimate atmosphere. These “islands” are a customised project designed by K&P interior designers and manufactured thanks to the close collaboration of Baulmann and iGuzzini. The glass spheres create a complex interplay of reflections as they are lit by round recessed Laser luminaires fitted with a refractor that forms an elliptical optic which focuses the light flow on the spheres. The same round recessed Laser luminaires fitted with a refractor that forms an elliptical optic is inserted between the laminated structures along the sides of the room so there is a lit area on the side panels that allows them to be joined without losing any of the room’s distinctive atmosphere. Next to the Ösch Noir restaurant, is the Chefs Table room that features special, metal panelling whose organic shapes are emphasized by grazing uplight created by Light Up Orbit luminaires.

When designing the lighting for the bedrooms, the lighting designers were particularly impressed by the controlled glare and minimal visual impact of iGuzzini’s recessed, square version Laser Low Voltage Super Comfort luminaires that create light with no obvious origin.

Recessed Laser Blade luminaires have been installed in the corridors and during the night, the lighting is controlled by presence sensors. This means they are switched on dynamically, a feature that guests love. In the hall, restaurant dining room and ballroom, the lighting concept is based on functionality and harmonious integration with the architecture. The hall area in front of the fireplace is lit by recessed Laser luminaires, combined with 10-cell Laser Blade luminaires in the piano area.

In the lobby that is furnished with various sofas, Palco track-mounted projectors offer accent lighting that combines with the diffuse illumination created by a light installation that consists of a range of glass shapes fitted with luminaires that are suspended in an irregular pattern across the entire ceiling. In the conference area, System 53 and iN30 modules, that can be switched on and off individually, combine diffuse and directional lighting. This system is so versatile that scenarios can be created to suit different requirements, such as lectures, informal work groups or work meetings.

Externally, the ground level lighting is created by pole-mounted Maxiwoody projectors, while the façade is animated by the indoor light that floods out of the large windows. In some cases, Laser Blade InOut luminaires have also been installed in the canopies above the guests’ sunbeds, to guarantee maximum comfort when reading outside.
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