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Who is Balthasar Volcano?

Balthasar Volcano is an enthusiast, illusionist, minimalist and cosmopolitan, and these are precisely the qualities reflected in the four Premium Eco Studios.

Balthasar Volcano first met his chosen hosts Anna and Max on a trip to the Far East and later again and again. He became a companion and a source of ideas for both of them in equal measure, paving the way and showing them a special approach to the world. A spirit that not only significantly influenced the project as a namesake, but also became a friend of the house.

The Story so far ...

Today, Balthasar Volcano roams the Salzkammergut as he did back then, learning to enjoy the given.

He has always used his days and time. Again and again he was allowed to experience what it means to be a happy epicurean and enthusiast. Encounters made him rich in experience, his adventures taught him to continue on his path. And even if there was not always a destination: He always arrived.
As in the location at the foot of the Schafberg and with a view of the turquoise-blue Wolfgangsee, which Balthasar Volcano has chosen – it is, after all, the “most beautiful place in the world”. He has always been enthusiastic about the deep energy he felt there and made no secret of it – on the contrary: he wants to share his enthusiasm with people.
Balthasar Volcano is an enthusiast, illusionist, minimalist and cosmopolitan, and these are precisely the qualities reflected in the four Premium Eco Studios.

As an illusionist, he firmly believes in the possibility of designing a house in such a way that everyone enjoys spending time in it. It should be stable and modern, made of local and sustainable materials, practical, individual and of the highest quality, with the options to be a solitary retreat as well as a vacation spot for generations. It can serve as a base for hikers and cyclists, a power spot for yogis and retreats, and inspiration for creative minds who love architecture and design.
Anna and Max henceforth act as his hosts and they do it perfectly. They even support his passion for a cruelty-free life with conviction and drive. Balthasar Volcano recognized Mick as an example of every sentient being on this planet. All animals should be well and this decision made his personal quality of life increase immeasurably. He donated his down comforters to the shelter and got the perfect alternative for each bed. He was happy that his household accommodated few things that got in the way of his animal-loving approach to life.

On those days, an even greater sense of freedom set in with each letting go. His senses and heart opened more and more to the world around him. Something happened that the cosmopolitan Balthasar Volcano had not expected in his already fulfilling life: An unspeakable contentment spread, every bird was an even better friend to him and even his love for his four-legged friend Mick felt more honest and true than ever before. Balthasar Volcano didn’t make a big deal about his realization because that’s just who he is. Although others may call him a pioneer, he prefers to reject that status. What he does, he does with conviction. Because he has a lot and, as a minimalist, needs little, he provides people with an eye for space and the essentials with temporary quarters with many advantages: A place to stay, where everyone is welcome and can convince themselves of the perfect location as well as the sustainable architecture and lifestyle.

Yes, his ecological footprint should remain as small as possible and that’s exactly what he wants to offer his guests: Premium Eco Studios – four unique places designed for new experiences and the joy of trying things out. Anna and Max were also inspired and motivated by Balthasar Volcano on their journey through life to consistently trust in their own happiness and existence.

Anna, Max and Mick

Anna, Max and Mick look forward to getting to know you.

Since the hustle and bustle around Balthasar became too much a few years ago, Anna, Mick and Max take over the guest management for him.
That’s a good thing, since the two are on site almost daily with their advertising agency buero36.

In the interview below you can get to know the hosts and their values better.

"EXACTLY AS I WANT MY HOUSE" - Interview August 2021
With the spontaneous statement of a passerby who marveled at Balthasar Volcano in St. Wolfgang, Upper Austria, a great wish came true for 35-year-old Anna Winkler and her 39-year-old husband Max Eisl. Their four premium vacation apartments shine not only because of the imminent opening at the beginning of September. The staunch advocates of a modern, ecologically sustainable way of life, have put a dazzling exclamation mark on the tourism hotspot in terms of environmentally friendly, gentle and efficient construction methods, thus fulfilling an inescapable dream and giving the timber construction industry an advantage. Who is Balthasar Volcano, tell the two owners of a regional advertising agency personally. We were able to get to know the people Anna and Max, their drive, motivations and credos, in conversation. – St. Wolfgang, 24.08.2021

To have a new roof over your head, to be able to call it your own and to be able to look back on so much energy, creativity, sweat and time put in, how does that feel?

Anna: Looking at the photos, I’m starting to notice what really came out. In your head you know exactly how it should look in the end and you only make progress step by step and suddenly it’s there. After three and a half years of planning and implementation, it is a huge weight off our hearts to be ready to open the doors.

Anna let’s start from the beginning. What was Balthasar Volcano before it was born for you – a dream, a vision, a fixed project, a very concrete goal, or completely clear that it had to come this way?
Anna: It started about nine years ago, when I saw Max’s family home and thought it would be perfect for a bed and breakfast. It turned out that it would not work out that way with this house, so we kept looking for other properties.

Max: We were also looking for a new place in St. Wolfgang for our office, because we wanted to get out of the old, damp office. In the course of this search, it turned out that the family decided to give away the old building after all. Our raw thoughts for today’s concept were coherent from the beginning and also secured us funding. Initially, we wanted to preserve the old house, but this turned out not to be expedient from a building ecology point of view.

The place where Balthasar Volcano was created would be a real estate agent’s dream. In the center of the Salzkammergut, in the middle of the tourism hotspot St. Wolfgang and yet far away from the hustle and bustle, in an absolutely quiet location, surrounded by forest and meadows with a view of the entire Wolfgangsee. How did this place come about?
Max: My grandfather received this place as one of 13 siblings and built a house on it in the post-war years. However, this old building was at the end of its rope. To redevelop it would have been equivalent to the well-known Hinterholz Acht, which is why we decided to demolish it and rebuild the site.

Why was it a matter of the heart for you Anna to launch Balthasar Volcano with all its special features in this way?
Anna: The biggest matter of the heart, which I still pursue, is to force that the vegan way of life arrives with the broad mass and the outdated picture of the eco, which renounces everything, disappears from the heads of humans. We deliberately use materials that are not of animal origin. We have also informed ourselves in this regard at some trade fairs – the trend is clearly going in this direction. I can hardly fit this topic of the heart into my professional life. At the end of the day, I may have designed beautiful things and persuaded customers to switch to recycled paper, but I have no influence on the products.
can hardly be taken, with an own project it is of course different.

Away from your joint professional work in your company. What does your life revolve around. What is important to you?
Max: Lately, our vegetable gardening and the beautiful nature in the Salzkammergut, which we use for long walks with our dog, have provided us with a balance. During the last three years, apart from these activities, there was not much time for our life between the office and the Balthasar Volcano construction project. (laughs)

Living consciously, thinking and acting across generations – the much-cited sustainability – is more relevant today than ever before. For you, a zeitgeist or a way of life?
Anna: It’s definitely a way of life for us. We may not have children, but we try to do everything we can to leave a better world for our next generations. The correct handling of nature, animal and plant world is a very big concern for us.

Was there a starting point for this attitude of yours, a bowl experience, or a point of no return?
Max: The first documentary films about our food system left a massive impression on me and caused me to deal intensively with many other topics in addition to the constantly advancing industrialization in food production and the agricultural economy. It’s not just about cooking at home. Also in the construction of houses, in the purchase of materials in the office or in the rental , that already has a very strong effect in total. It requires being consistent, but that’s what it’s worth to us in any case, and that’s what we want to draw attention to with the Balthasar Volcano project.

Anna: One of the worst things for people is abandonment. It is often believed that living vegan is pure renunciation. However, the more one deals with this topic, the more one notices that the renunciation is not so much a loss of quality of life, but an exchange of certain things, even an improvement in very many areas. I used to think about these things a lot, but it wasn’t until I looked my young dog in the eye one day that the final decision was made in me to distance myself from animal products.

Does a neo-host couple welcome their guests at the Balthasar Volcano or how would you describe yourselves against the tourist background of St. Wolfgang?
Anna: Of course we would like to welcome our guests personally, but we have planned the house in such a way that it also works when we are away on business and are not on site at the house. Many people appreciate their rest on vacation, which we also want to respect if that is desired.

In your intention to create Baltasar Volcano, did the idea of a lodging establishment or a complete novelty in the residential sector prevail? Did you just need something new and different and you had the idea?
Max: We wanted to start a room rental business on the side and incorporate the many inspirations from our travels into it. This has a lot to do with how we like to stay in hotels ourselves. Anna is a very creative person and we have also been asked by enthusiastic people who have already looked at the house who our interior designer was. This is a nice confirmation and praise when it honors what we have done.

Was it perhaps a lucky combination of new findings or people and products that made Balthasar Volcano what it is today, or were the ecological milestones basic requirements for you even before construction began? began?
Max: In the course of planning, it has continuously turned out that we have seen ideas and materials that were always even better. For example, our architect told us about a lecture on larch bark and its excellent insulating properties. That’s how we met Günther Kain, who is doing research on this. Since the bark is landfilled or burned, it seemed to us a logical consequence to take a closer look at the utilization of this natural material instead of burning it, because we should bind the CO2 in the future and not blow it into the air. We had a prototype for our larch bark insulation manufactured by the Barkinsulation company from Hallein. In the time since production, the company has discovered a fully certified and completely ecological binder that will be used in the future. This additionally impregnates the boards, which makes it even more interesting for outdoor use. Just by giving impetus to this development, we hope to make our contribution and that sooner or later the industry will become aware of this insulation material.

With Balthasar Volcano you are standing in one of the most beautiful regions of our country, and in a constantly developing and booming tourist mecca. What role does Balthasar play in the portfolio of offerings of these many lodging establishments?
Max: We are a small accommodation business with an unusual concept. In our region, there are hardly any comparable ecological properties used as rental properties and we are also striving for certification with the Austrian Ecolabel (Certified Ecolabel Hotel since October 2021). There are still very few of these houses in our region.

As a graphic and communication designer, you have a passion for designing, shaping and embellishing. How do resource-saving production, sustainable building and design go together for you?
Anna: It definitely goes together, but it’s difficult. Nevertheless, we are convinced that with Balthasar Volcano we have succeeded in combining the best of both worlds.

Does being in harmony with nature also mean for you to visually adapt to the surroundings with the architecture and through the choice of materials, to blend in and to do something good for the eye?
Anna: One of our main thoughts was that the building should be as unobtrusive as possible when you drive up to see it, but still create a wow effect. In total, there are 250 square meters, but they are not perceived as bulky. With its green roofs, it blends in well with the natural surroundings. We have tried to implement new housing concepts. Compared to other apartments, our apartments are smaller but better utilized. In today’s world, we need to use our housing more efficiently to reduce land consumption, which is what we are trying to show with our concept.

Is it a basic trust that you carry within you to tackle projects, to develop them anew, to let them come into being and to be sure that these actions will be crowned with success?
Anna: Of course, Balthasar Volcano is the very biggest project we’ve implemented so far, and we’re looking forward to what we’ll experience with it in the coming years and what we can accomplish with it. In the worst case, we have to use it to realign ourselves. We trust a lot in ourselves, we are hardworking and we have also seen in the agency where we have implemented many projects that we did not think we would do. For us, Balthasar Volcano is the logical consequence of things we have long wished for.

The journey and phase of construction is completed. With the opening, you are embarking on a new path. What do you want to be able to tell about yourselves and Balthasar Volcano in five years?
Max: We hope to be able to say in five years’ time that we have made a lasting impact with our building and have thus also been a bit of an inspiration for other projects.