The Ice Q in Soelden: Alpine Design Cocktail – Shaken not Stirred!

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Kristina

Having a degree in geography, Kristina Erhard has travelled the... View author

Perched on the top of 3,048-metre Gaislachkogel Peak in Soelden, the distinctive cuboid-shaped Ice Q Restaurant with its walls of sheer glass fits in with the surrounding mountainous landscape. Together with the neighbouring Gaislachkogelbahn gondola top station it ranks among Tirol’s undisputed highlights. Designed by Innsbruck-based Architect Johann Obermoser this is an architectural masterpiece that surpasses any other – it’s not surprising that the iconic Ice Q plays the leading role in the Tirol sequences of Spectre, the 24th film in the James Bond series.

The gorgeous blonde girl whispers: “But James, I need you!” Bond leaves the mountain cabin just as four Russian assassins arrive and replies, “So does England!” Some of the most memorable scenes from Bond films have been Alpine—and the most well-known and most spectacular ski chase scene surely goes to 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me” corker of an opener where Roger Moore’s Bond bids farewell to his lady friend, who begs him to stay. The fact that director Sam Mendes has chosen Soelden’s Gaislachkogel as one of the ‘fantastic places’ for “Spectre” suggests that the snow-loving spy will be back on skis in 2015. This time starring Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz instead of Roger Moore and Curt Jurgens and showcasing the lofty peaks of the Oetztal Alps instead of Switzerland’s Bernina Range.

The spectacular Ice Q Restaurant and Gaislachkogelbahn Top Station were used for filming the new James Bond movie “Spectre” in January and February 2015. Photo Credit: Das Central

The spectacular Ice Q Restaurant and Gaislachkogelbahn Top Station were used for filming the new James Bond movie “Spectre” in January and February 2015. Photo Credit: Das Central

The iconic ‘Ice Q’ plays the leading role in the Tirol sequences of the 24th Bond caper – a mysterious Alpine clinic in a shadow ice-cube of a building whose darkly gleaming facets suggest secrets are hidden within.

The sleek glass exterior of the mountaintop hideaway makes a fine lair for the bad guy. The Ice Q is an architectural masterpiece that surpasses any other and fits perfectly into the glamour fantasy world of James Bond. At this glass box atop Soelden’s Gaislachkogl Peak, attention to detail in the food and service are the key. This is not your ordinary market-style eatery — and you won’t find spaghetti with meat sauce or fried foods here. This spot is all about gourmet fare. You can tantalise your taste buds on things like white caviar from Alpine sturgeon and char confit in hay-infused oil, served by waiters in black suits.

A Modernist Cube of Glass.

The floor-to-ceiling picture windows are filled with spectacular views of the stunning Eastern Alps. Architect Johann Obermoser designed the Ice Q to be as transparent as possible, and so fit seamlessly into its natural surroundings. Photo Credit: Ötztal Tourismus/Rudi Wyhlidal

The floor-to-ceiling picture windows are filled with spectacular views of the stunning Eastern Alps. Architect Johann Obermoser designed the Ice Q to be as transparent as possible, and so fit seamlessly into its natural surroundings. Photo Credit: Ötztal Tourismus/Rudi Wyhlidal

Perched on the mountain’s peak, this modernist cube of glass set at 3,048 metres (10,000ft) really takes fine dining to new heights. Located at the top of the Gaislachkogl gondola station the Ice Q is a treat for all the senses and offers not only gourmet dining and wandering in Bond’s footsteps but also unique architectural experiences. Innsbruck-based Architect Johann Obermoser built this innovative new restaurant along with the Gaislachkogelbahn Gondola Top Station a few years ago. The innovative contemporary architecture creates a stimulating contrast to the typical rustic mountain experience. The gondola top station and the Ice Q have won prestigious architecture awards in 2007 and 2013.

Creeping Alpine Permafrost.

Building in the creeping permafrost zone at an elevation of 3,000 metres presents enormous challenges to constructors and architects. Photo Credit: Markus Bstieler

Building in the creeping permafrost zone at an elevation of 3,000 metres presents enormous challenges to constructors and architects. Photo Credit: Markus Bstieler

Designing and constructing infrastructure in high Alpine regions presents enormous challenges. Alongside other factors, the ground may be permanently frozen and contain ice. This type of perennially frozen ground is called Alpine permafrost. Permafrost ice can creep, expand and melt and buildings constructed on it have a notorious tendency to sink, crumble, or tilt because heat and pressure from overlying structures can cause the permafrost under the structure to melt. That’s why the buildings in the permafrost zone atop Gaislachkogl Peak were built on piles and telescoping posts mounted on plate foundations to avoid permafrost-thaw foundation failure from the heat of the building. This flexibility allows adaption to the creeping permafrost terrain. Cuboid in shape and remarkably distinctive with walls of sheer glass, the Ice Q restaurant building appears like ice cubes stacked and wedged together. Jutting out over the ground, this is not for the faint-hearted nor vertigo sufferers…

The Pinnacle of Mountaintop Dining.

An elevated dining experience in the true sense of the word and an architectural masterpiece, plus “the James Bond Factor”: The Ice Q is connected to Gaislachkogl Peak by a suspended bridge. Photo Credit: Ötztal Tourismus/Rudi Wyhlidal

An elevated dining experience in the true sense of the word and an architectural masterpiece, plus “the James Bond Factor”: The Ice Q is connected to Gaislachkogl Peak by a suspended bridge. Photo Credit: Ötztal Tourismus/Rudi Wyhlidal

A tunnel links the top of Gaislachkogl Gondola station with the Ice Q restaurant where you will be greeted by LED lighted barrique barrels, suggesting that this is where you will explore the finer points of high altitude taste and flavour. The Ice Q Restaurant promises gourmet cuisine, excellent wines, 100 seats inside, 34 seats on the terrace and impeccable service. The seats on the south-facing terrace allow for the full enjoyment of the amazing view. Upstairs, the Ice Q Lounge Bar offers a superb VIP area for a limited number of guests per day, the ideal space for functions, meetings and rarefied events. It served as the fitting James Bond film crew base during the four weeks of mountaintop filming. The roof of Ice Q is a panoramic platform that can be freely accessed, connected to the peak of the Gaislachkogl by a suspended bridge. Elevated indeed.

The Ice Q features aesthetically pleasing contemporary architecture, with all materials sourced locally. It all bears the signature of Architect Obermoser from Innsbruck who furnished the interiors of the restaurant with local timber and natural glacier stone. Natural textiles like loden and wool are used to reflect the beauty of the landscape. The stylish bar area is all black, putting a fresh and modern spin on the typical hearth hoods and kitchens blackened with smoke of yesteryear’s Tirol. As you sit here gazing out, your mind is not fully on the drink to be enjoyed at this rarefied height of 3,000 metres – what you are really drinking in is the jaw-dropping scenery. (The altitude here really does make you breathless, even before the effects of the scenery work their magic.) James just would have loved loved loved to have a vodka martini shaken, not stirred, here. Or, rather a beer? We can’t wait to watch it.

For more information visit www.soelden.com

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