Finger-jointed oak tops Saint-Maire Castle
Successful renovation of a monumental Swiss château
On a hill in the north of Lausanne, with a wide view over the lower town and Lake Geneva, stands the monumental Saint-Maire Castle. It was built from 1400 to 1430 as a bishop's seat and resembles in its form a large cube. During that period it was customary to build fortresses in the form of cubes, which served both as dwellings and as defenses. Since 1803, the Château has been the seat of the cantonal government of Vaud.
In the course of the 19th century several renovations were carried out on the castle, most recently from 2015 to 2018 under the direction of the Swiss architects Amsler, Atelier Glatz & Delachaux and Mondada Frigerio Dupraz as well as the carpenter André SA. Founded in 1898, André SA is one of the most important timber companies in the canton of Vaud. With almost 100 employees and two large production halls, the renowned interior designer from Yens on Lake Geneva can also realize larger projects in the shortest possible time.
André SA has been working with the German veneer specialist Schorn & Groh for several years now. The cooperation for the "Saint Maire" project started in May 2017. Schorn & Groh was given the opportunity to supply the wooden surface for the interior fittings and the numerous pieces of furniture of the historic Château. In close cooperation with the client, the veneer specialist developed a special and very sophisticated jointing technique for a European oak in solid wood character. For this purpose, thin veneer strips with a width of 22 mm were mixed from different logs with straight and vivid crown grains. This jointing technique is also known by the term "finger-jointed". It gives the wood surface its special solid wood character.
The project manager of André SA personally selected the oak veneer in Karlsruhe. The prototype was produced in the Schorn & Groh joinery in Eschelbronn in southern Germany. After approval by the interior designer and the architect, Schorn & Groh started the entire production. Approximately 3500 square meters of oak veneer were used for the castle, both as natural oak and in the stained version. Some sapwood and flakes were allowed, as well as a homogeneous, yet lively color. Today, Schorn & Groh's spliced veneers produced with a fleece backing for greater stability, decorate numerous doors, storage cupboards, reception furniture, staircases, wall and ceiling paneling in the monumental Château Saint Maire.