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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 both a companion and a source of ideas for the two of them, 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. Time and again, he was able to experience what it means to be a happy bon vivant 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.
Just like the location at the foot of the Schafberg and with a view of the turquoise-blue Wolfgangsee, which Balthasar Volcano has chosen – after all, it is 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 can enjoy spending time there. It should be stable and modern, made from local and sustainable materials, practical, individual and of the highest quality with the options of being a solitary retreat as well as a vacation spot for generations. It can serve as a base for hikers and cyclists, a place of power 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 life free of animal suffering with conviction and drive. Balthasar Volcano recognized Mick as an example for 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 found the perfect alternative for every bed. He was happy that his household only accommodated a few things that got in the way of his animal-loving approach to life.

On those days, every time I let go, I felt an even greater sense of freedom. His senses and his heart opened up more and more to the world around him. Something happened that the cosmopolitan Balthasar Volcano had never expected in his already full 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 the big picture and the essentials with a temporary home with many advantages: A place where everyone is welcome and can experience the perfect location as well as the sustainable architecture and lifestyle.

Yes, his ecological footprint should remain as small as possible and that is 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 together to consistently trust 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
The spontaneous statement of a passer-by who was marveling at Balthasar Volcano in St. Wolfgang in Upper Austria fulfilled a great wish 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. The two owners of a regional advertising agency are happy to tell you personally who Balthasar Volcano is. We were able to get to know the people Anna and Max, their drive, motivations and credos, in conversation.

St. Wolfgang, 24.08.2021

How does it feel 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?

Anna: When I look at the photos, I start to realize 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 to you before it was born – a dream, a vision, a fixed plan, a very concrete goal, or was it absolutely clear that it had to happen?

Anna: It all started around 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 this house wasn’t going to work out, which is why we kept looking around for other properties.

Max: We were also looking for a new space for our office in St. Wolfgang 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 rough ideas for today’s concept were coherent from the outset and also secured us the funding. Initially, we wanted to keep 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 was one of eight siblings to receive this site 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 so close to Anna’s heart to launch Balthasar Volcano with all its special features?

Anna: The thing I’m still most passionate about is pushing for the vegan lifestyle to be accepted by the masses and for the outdated image of the eco who gives up everything to disappear from people’s minds. We deliberately use materials that are not of animal origin. We have also gathered information on this at a number of trade fairs – the trend is clearly moving 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.
It is of course different with your own project.

Away from your joint professional work in your company. What does your life revolve around. What is important to you?

Max: Recently, we’ve been able to balance things out by growing vegetables in our garden and enjoying the beautiful nature in the Salzkammergut, which we use for long walks with our dog. Over the last three years, there hasn’t been much time for our lives between the office and the Balthasar Volcano construction project apart from these activities. (laughs)

Living consciously, thinking and acting across generations – the much-cited concept of sustainability – is more relevant today than ever before. A zeitgeist or a way of life for you?

Anna: It’s definitely a way of life for us. We may not have any children, but we try to do everything we can to leave behind a better world for our next generations. The proper treatment of nature, flora and fauna is very important to us.

Was there a starting point, a key experience or a point of no return for this attitude of yours?

Max: The first documentary films about our food system left a massive impression on me and made me take a closer look at many other topics in addition to the constantly advancing industrialization of food production and agriculture. It’s not just about cooking at home. Even when building a house, buying materials in the office or renting out, the overall effect is very significant. 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 to go without. 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 I made the final decision to distance myself from animal products.

Does a neo-host couple welcome their guests to the Balthasar Volcano or how would you describe yourselves against the tourist background of St. Wolfgang?

Anna: Of course we want to welcome our guests personally, but we have planned the house so that it also works when we are away on business and not in the house. Many people value their peace and quiet on vacation, which we would also like to respect if this 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 also a lucky coincidence of new findings or people and products that made Balthasar Volcano what it is today, or were the ecological milestones basic prerequisites for you even before construction began?

Max: In the course of planning, we kept seeing ideas and materials that were even better. For example, our architect told us about a lecture on larch bark and its excellent insulating properties. This is how we got to know Günther Kain, who is working on this in his research. 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 the company Barkinsulation from Hallein produce a prototype for our larch bark insulation. 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. By initiating this development alone, we hope to make our contribution and that the industry will sooner or later become aware of this insulating 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-conserving production, sustainable construction and design go together for you?

Anna: You can definitely do it together, but it’s difficult. Nevertheless, we are convinced that with Balthasar Volcano we have succeeded in combining the best of both worlds.

For you, does being in harmony with nature also mean visually adapting to the surroundings with the architecture and the choice of materials, blending in and doing something good for the eye?

Anna: One of our main ideas was that the building should be as unobtrusive as possible when you drive up to it, but still create a wow effect. In total, there are 250 square meters, but they are not perceived as bulky. With its green roof surfaces, 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 living space more efficiently in order to reduce the amount of space we use, and we want to demonstrate this 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 biggest project we have implemented so far and we are looking forward to what we will experience in the coming years and what we can achieve with it. In the worst case, we have 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 the things we have wanted for a long time.

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 say about yourselves and Balthasar Volcano in five years’ time?

Max: In five years’ time, we hope to be able to say that we have made a lasting impact with our building and that we have also inspired other projects to a certain extent.