Bernt grew up in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. His interest in interpreting sites and spaces dates back to that time. It was informed by the iconic – and timeless – structures that he lived in and was surrounded by.
The intrigue and magic of ancient structures still draws Millions of visitors to Europe, and to other parts of the world where history is alive, complex and engaging. Contemporary architecture is increasingly drawing from this vast heritage, bringing back warmth, mystery and texture in volumes that seduce and comfort.
After school, Bernt spent a year in Mozambique, where he was introduced to the simple but highly functional dwellings of African Vernacular.
Bernt came to the U.S. in the late Seventies, and – again – found himself drawn to what reflects the past: Ghost towns, giant rural buildings, grand hotels built by the railroad barons, and the great – now mostly abandoned – cliff dwellings of America’s early indigenous people…
From his home base in L.A., he crisscrossed the American Southwest in his Land Cruiser, visiting dozens of ghost towns, and spending many nights camping out in the deserts of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
Movies were his other passion. He wrote screenplays, produced a movie, acted in two movies, and went to acting class. Much of what he learned there, also applies to all other forms of art, namely the need to find – and be guided by - Deep Content and Subtext.
All projects Bernt has had a hand in are different from each other. What makes them related is that each one of them includes an angle that goes against the grain, seizing on opportunity that may not be apparent at first glance.
Before embarking on the development of Amangiri, Bernt brought a focus group to the site. It consisted of 11 industry experts. They spent two days and a night in Page, and they had an opportunity to walk the lands that are now home to the Number One performing Aman Resort in the world. Those industry experts all agreed at the time, that a luxury resort in this location would never work…