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alpine living The real face of the quaint Swiss chalet

Behind every Swiss cliché - whether chocolate, cheese or banks - is a kernel of truth. German photographer Patrick Lambertz found one of them with his “Chalets of Switzerland”.

Originally, the word ‘chalet’ means a hut, usually built from wood, and which stands on pastoral or agricultural land. Such detached rural houses are found right across the Alpine region.

Through the course of the Romantic movement, however, when the European elite began to take an interest in Switzerland, the chalet came to symbolise a natural, simple, free, and democratic way of life. Such wooden models graced the homes, gardens, and parks of the then European aristocracy, and became a Swiss symbol par excellence.

Minimalist

As a German, the clichés surrounding Switzerland and its chalets particularly interest former filmmaker Patrick Lambertzexternal link.

“It was probably a non-Swiss view that allowed me to see these houses as lived-in, down-to-earth objects,” he told swissinfo.ch. I was able to contrast the glittering world of the imagined ideal with a completely different reality.”

Lambertz situates the nowadays sometimes overlooked chalets in the centre of his photos, where surrounded by an abstract, minimalist winter landscape they become the main characters, and their striking, unique characters and stories are allowed to emerge.

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