A site with values

‘It has become imperative for me to have a place that is more than a Michelin-starred restaurant, to defend my values and protect the living world in all its forms.’ This is what Christophe Aribert, twice Michelin-starred chef, had in mind when he made the decision to buy an old, abandoned building. At the time, the chalet, located just a short distance from the famous kitchens of Terrasses du Grand Hôtel d’Uriage had lost its heritage status. The ‘Grand Chalet’ had been the property of the town of Saint-Martin-d’Uriage since 2008 and is built in the mid-19th-century ‘Anglo-Norman’ timber-frame style, which was popular at the time.

Building and landscape in harmony

The façade boasts a combination of stained-glass windows, decorative wooden arches, and imitation half timbering made of cement, with the floors arranged in the traditional layered arrangement with a basement of brick, cement and cut stone and a plastered section covered in decorative paintwork. The chalet conversion project, aimed at creating overall harmony between the building and the landscape and enhancing the old chalet, has restored a balcony that wraps around the building and replaced old roofing with new diamond terracotta roof tiles, identical to those originally in place. Only a few things have changed: the tiny roof windows have been replaced with larger windows and the south-east gable is now partially glazed in a way that echoes the pattern of the existing windows.

Sustainable interior decoration

In this project, led by Joëlle Personnaz in collaboration with the manufacturers Collinet, Bleu Nature and Zago Store, the character of the building has been preserved by incorporating the pre-existing beams into the café’s acoustic ceiling, using the old marble to create a floor in the reception area, and preserving the cut-stone walls and stairway bannisters. The architectural design and decoration have been sustainably and ethically sourced and favour local companies and materials of natural origin.

More beautiful together

This approach continues into the extension for the restaurant, which includes low-energy lighting, French linen uniforms for the waiters, tableware crafted in France, etc. The new partially buried extension with many windows features a green roof and is enmeshed in a Belledonne chestnut cladding. The extension visually mimics the simple shapes of surrounding houses and adds organic curves that contrast with the stricter lines of the chalet, in a mutually beneficial relationship.

A more attractive area

The project was funded by Crédit Agricole Sud Rhône-Alpes bank, which describes it as: ‘a factor to make the Uriage area more attractive. By contributing to this project, we have shown our desire to play a part in construction projects that will shape our local development’. The Uriage area has much to offer visitors, as demonstrated by the chef’s recipes using walnuts from Grenoble, Trièves Guinea fowl, mushrooms from Voreppe, and even strawberries… from the restaurant’s very own roof garden!