It turns out that the wonderful resort of Zell am See, which we immediately fell in love with, fascinated not only us: in the 1940s, Ferry Porsche, a famous design engineer, bought a piece of land here, and during World War II he brought his entire large family to Schuttgut farm . A little later, in 1974, the Porsche design studio moved to Target. During this time, she developed the design of a myriad of industrial and consumer products for customers around the world (Singapore airport express train, Oslo metro train, etc.), but in Target am See, her work was only noted in 2010. The company has created a new design for the gondola of the oldest cable car in the Salzburg region – Schmittenhoehebahnen, co-owned by the Porsche family.
And the result, I must say, was impressive. When you see this stylish gondola with tinted panoramic windows for the first time, it seems that instead of the usual yellow taxi you were suddenly given a Porsche 911. And although, one after another, you climb up the trassXpress booths next to the gondola for those who are in a hurry to get to the slope, take a ride in a designer trailer , plying every fifteen minutes – is a separate pleasure. Something like a cruise in the air, when during your journey – albeit a short one – you stand near a huge porthole and watch the snow-covered fir trees, inaccessible rocks and cozy clouds passing by.
By the way, which is completely natural, the final point of the Schmittenhoehe lift is an observation deck with a restaurant, and not the beginning of the route. So the gondola is clearly addressed to those who wish to explore the surroundings, bask in the sun and drink a cup of aromatic coffee at the top, that is, lovers of beauty and dolce vita, and not to athletes-skiers. Of course, from this station you can take the elevator to the start of the tracks (near the Sissi church), and you can hang out there again in the luxurious restaurant at the Berghotel where the emperor Franz Joseph I stayed. Then we found out that there is a mobile bar in the gondola, speakers and RGB-LED lights, which means that you can have “air” parties there (the cabin is available for rent during the hours when the lift officially closes: from 17:00 – until 19:00, you need to book for two weeks). In general, some kind of sheer pleasure, and not climbing the mountain.
Since the very first project of the famous design bureau for the native resort immediately took a decent height, we decided to meet with the general director of the Porsche Design Studio – Mr. Ronald Heiler, and find out what it is like to raise the design to the level of the mountains.
– Have you ever had experience in creating a design for a lift?
– No, it was our first project of this kind, after which we had new orders, and we already made a booth for the Swiss resort of Laax.
– Why did the company operating the lift decide to order the design of the new gondola for you?
– The company announced a tender in which we participated along with other design bureaus. As a result, our project was chosen. We offered a completely new look at the lift – and, apparently, this was exactly what our client was looking for – the Schmittenhoehebahn. They needed a project that would be both innovative and not at the same time similar to all other cable cars. It so happened that our views coincided.
– Porsche Design Studio developed only design or participated in the construction?
– We did not perform any engineering work, because it requires additional knowledge and specialists, and we do not have an engineering department. We made general calculations and sent a design project to a company that specializes in the construction of lifts, and their engineers have already checked all the technical specifications, because safety is paramount.
– Have they made any edits?
– The most amazing thing is not: our calculations turned out to be correct. I think we were greatly helped by close cooperation not only with the customer, but also with the famous Austrian company Carvatech, which specializes in the construction of cableways. By the way, it was this company in the 60s who built the gondola, which in 2010 changed the Porsche cabin, and they, fortunately, kept all the diagrams and engineering documents for the previous version. Therefore, we could be guided by them, because the mechanism that hangs on the rope and holds the gondola remains the same.
– What is the main change in the appearance of the gondola?
– One of the priorities that we set for ourselves when undertaking the project is to turn the lift from a vehicle into something more ambitious. It used to be a question in this way: how to deliver fifty people from the bottom to the top of the mountain. Now, in our opinion, this is not enough: we want to impress people and provide them with pleasant impressions during their journey.