Visual Display revamps Baita Pié Tofana in Cortina d’Ampezzo


Alessandro Paderni / Studio Eye,

Cortina d'Ampezzo,

Free Time, Restaurants,


Visual Display - the creative branding and interior design specialist founded by Giorgio di Bernardo - has restored the famous Baita Pié Tofana restaurant in the heart of the ski area of Cortina d’Ampezzo that will be hosting the 2021 World Championships and the Olympic Games in 2026.

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Visual Display revamps Baita Pié Tofana in Cortina d’Ampezzo Baita Pié Tofana, at the foot of the Tofane in Cortina d’Ampezzo, was originally built as a shelter for time-keepers during the 1956 Winter Olympics, after which it was used as a traditional chalet. Ahead of the forthcoming major sporting events,  the Italian creative firm, Visual Display was tasked with giving it a complete makeover and rebranding.
A really delicate task because, in addition to the part it first played in the Winter Olympics, in the eyes of the general public the chalet is associated with a number of Italian films by the Vanzina brothers set during the Christmas season. On the one hand, Giorgio di Bernardo and his team harnessed all the chalet’s historical aspects and recognisable features, on the other they built up its sophistication and authenticity, underpinning values of the facility’s new management by Michel Oberhammer. 
The first milestone of the project and focal point of the rebranding project to revamp the chalet was the decision to confirm the old sign attached to the front of the shelter from its inception, now turned into the trademark of the lodge, with the addition of the tagline “authentic food and fine bottles”. This sign stands out on the exterior, where the patina of dark paint was stripped off the facades to leave the natural larch and allow it to age. This way, Baita Pié Tofana also blends into the natural surroundings of the Ampezzo Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As part of their project, Visual Display completely refurbished the dining rooms, which consolidated the original architecture, also thanks to the skilled hands of local artisans. The inside walls and ceiling were completely replaced by new panelling using old sand-blasted and waxed spruce boards. The tastefully mixed and matched dove grey and teal fabrics on the benches, together with the light linen curtains and the copper lamps with amber-coloured glass create a comfortable, refined atmosphere, adding a touch of glamour to this traditional and at the same time contemporary location.
The references to the venue’s vernacular culture, the pursuit of authentic inspirations and emotions have been turned into materials, colours, forms, textures, light and signs of the renewal of the Baita Pié Tofana. This approach is very clearly manifested in one of the rooms. A new, state-of-the-art fireplace has replaced the old, traditional one and now diners can sit around the fire pit to warm up while they enjoy their meals; it is also more sustainable because it consumes less wood.
Visual Display’s work has turned the chalet into a classy, elegant and cosy venue, which, despite being entirely different from the former one, still maintains the magical, warm atmosphere that has always distinguished this location. A very upmarket place, closely connected with the territory, which seeks to communicate with the splendid scenery of the Ampezzo Dolomites, the setting for the upcoming major international sporting events.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Visual Display
Location: Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Year: 2019
Images: Alessandro Paderni / Eye Studio