Step inside the Modernist mountain resort that was once a workers’ paradise

Built for an Italian multinational oil and gas company

Photographer Gaia Cambiaggi’s snapshots of Borca di Cadore take us back to a halcyon time when Italy’s Eni oil company built its workers a mountain holiday escape.

The resort, located in the Italian Alps, was masterminded by Eni president Enrico Mattei, who hired architect Edoardo Gellner to design a series of holiday homes for the company’s employees.

Photography: Gaia Cambiaggi

Named Corte di Cadore, the complex offered a mix of cottages which were randomly assigned to bring workers at different levels of the company together. Gellner’s designs mixed wood and concrete, with flashes of bright red and yellow in the interiors. Children meanwhile could escape to A-frame huts lined with bunk beds.

The holiday resort inevitably fell out of use over time, but in 2001 it acquired a new owner who’s been steadfastly refurbing the buildings. Cambiaggi’s photo essay captures this restoration work, showing the cabins bathed in sunlight and surrounded by trees. Mugs stamped with the six-legged Eni dog logo remain in the cupboards, and the cage built for Misha, the bear – gifted by the USSR – is also still in one piece.

‘Strangely, I felt a kind of harmony between the Modernist architecture and the natural landscape, and I didn’t expect that in a mountain resort,’ the photographer told The Spaces. ‘Borca di Cadore is one of the most beautiful places in the Italian Alps. The project itself made me understand how good design can respect scenery.’

 

Photography: Gaia Cambiaggi
Photography: Gaia Cambiaggi
Photography: Gaia Cambiaggi
Photography: Gaia Cambiaggi

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