Location73050 Santa Maria al Bagno, Province of Lecce, Italy
Architect in ChargeTomas Ghisellini, Alice Marzola with Lucrezia Alemanno, Daniele Francesco Petralia
ClientCDS Hotels Ltd
Text description provided by the architects. After many years of complete abandonment, the Riviera Grand Hotel, a historical complex in southern Italy Salento area, comes to a new life after a challenging renovation and a radical interior redesign.
The property, located along one of the most extraordinary coast stretch of Ionian Salento, just close to the sea, is a sort of village made by thin coastal "towers" connected at the base by a plate of services and common areas. The towers, looking at the nearby gulf of Gallipoli, accommodate rooms offering stunning panoramic views over Mediterranean Sea.
Outside, spectacular environmental terraces on different levels feature pools, tennis courts, belvedere, cafes and open-air restaurant, banquet facilities, solarium, meadows of lush Mediterranean vegetation and scented pine forests inhabited, here and there, by rocky outcrops.
The project, silent and delicate, regenerates the splendor of the complex without upheavals, retaining the overall essence of the original rationalist composition, indeed pushing the architectural vocabulary to an elementary and almost "archaic" simplicity. The built bodies are sheathed in seamless white plaster; porous borders in golden local stone intervene decisively in defining profiles and silhouettes; painted terracotta decorations dot the theories of loggias and balconies, giving the façade the appearance of an elegant three-dimensional embroidery.
The results of a few but strong design choices are amazing: from the coastline cliffs, as well as the waters of the sea, the complex appears in the guise of a tiny but dense "white city" perched on rocky slopes and masses of trees. The hotel exudes the dreamy charm of the candid Apulian historic settlements, so deeply rooted in the collective spirit and exercises over places the magnetic power of the great Mediterranean architecture.
Once reached, the Riviera reveals an articulate spatial composition made by architectural scenes and changing altitude levels offering visitors continuous discoveries of views, forests, panoramas, horizons and unforgettable landscapes.
Interiors, similarly rigorous and essential, reinterpret in a contemporary way the traditions of the coastal Salento architectures: chromatic freshness, glazed ceramics, canopies, almost impalpable fabrics, local stones and surfaces where white descends as liquid build a soft and iridescent perceptive scenario.
The settings, freed from any excessive densification as well as the predominance of dark colors as legacy of the past, explode with light and colors.
Soft ceilings, evanescent curtains and rains of flying "lanterns" draw cozy and tranquil spaces; build up the impression of magical places and yet so familiar, embracing, domestic in a way.
Architectural choices, constructive and specific technological solutions and expedients, give the complex an attitude of high responsibility as regards the protection of the environment and the reduction of energy consumption.
Mapei Silancolor Base Coat and Silancolor pure white have been used to pre-treat and then paint all the outer façades of the hotel complex. These products are specifically utilized wherever "complicated" environmental conditions (in this case salty marine aerosols) can lead buildings to a rapid deterioration of colors and plaster vertical surfaces.