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    Alabama hotel by Avenir Creative occupies three historic buildings

    US studio Avenir Creative has completed the renovation of a historic hotel in Montgomery, Alabama, restoring a trio of buildings in accordance with local heritage.

    Close to the riverfront, the 117-room Trilogy Montgomery has reopened following an extensive overhaul by Chicago-based Avenir Creative.
    Trilogy Montgomery’s airy lobby features whitewashed brick walls and eclectic furnitureThree buildings — two early 20th-century warehouses and a Greek revival mansion built in 1851 — were combined to create a seamless interior flow totalling 72,000 square feet (6,690 square metres) while retaining the character of each.
    “With a commitment to honoring Montgomery’s past while embracing a bright future, the hotel offers a welcoming, inspiring, and inclusive space for all,” said Avenir Creative.
    The Montgomery House Bar pulls from the region’s jazz heritageThe new main entrance was created into a four-storey, red-brick building on Coosa Stree, where guests arrive into a spacious lobby that leans fully into the warehouse aesthetic.

    Tall ceilings with exposed wooden beams, whitewashed brick walls, exposed services and ductwork, and metal-framed partitions all add to the industrial aesthetic.
    The Kinsmith restaurant is decorated with deep blue-green hues across richly patterned wallpaper and textilesThe wooden reception counter, which looks like a giant vintage speaker, is positioned in front of a large library shelving unit with a rolling ladder.
    A mixture of antique and contemporary furniture creates an eclectic feel that continues into the adjacent atrium lounge.
    The portion of the hotel housed within a Greek revival mansion is ornately decorated”Designed as a homage to the region’s multicultural history, elements throughout the hotel pull from materials and motifs important to the city,” Avenir Creative said.
    “The back wall of the front desk has a wood pattern inspired by church window architecture as the King Memorial Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr was the pastor is a large part of the community.”
    A muted colour palette of greens and grey in the guest bedrooms is contrasted by brighter accent chairs and carpetsThe guest rooms have lofty ceilings and full-height windows, with those on the upper floors enjoying views across the city.
    A muted colour palette of greens and grey in the bedrooms is contrasted by brighter accent chairs and carpets, while flooring is either maple or pine and works by local artists adorn the walls.
    On the roof, an expansive terrace called Waterworks offers plenty of casual outdoor seating among potted plantsOver in the mansion portion of the hotel, which was originally built for a prominent local merchant, Corinthian column capitals and ornate plasterwork lend a very different aesthetic.
    The hotel’s restaurant, Kinsmith, is decorated with deep blue-green hues across richly patterned wallpaper and textiles, while the bar interior blends olive green leather banquettes, purple velvet curtains and sand-hued walls – all colours also found in the stone bar counter.

    The Eliza Jane hotel takes up seven historic warehouses in New Orleans

    “The Montgomery House Bar pulls from jazz influences with chandeliers that resemble trumpets and lush fabric banquettes that create a cozy jazz lounge environment,” said Avenir Creative.
    Hallways feature checkered floors, and a gallery of vintage photographs and artworks runs up the staircase. Various meeting rooms with gilded mirrors and chandeliers also occupy this section of the hotel.
    The Trilogy Montgomery occupies three buildings, including a red-brick former warehouse where a new entrance was created during the renovationsOn the roof, an expansive terrace called Waterworks offers plenty of casual outdoor seating among potted plants, as well as craft beers and Southern-influenced small plates.
    Dark-toned furniture matches the building’s exterior and a pergola from which string lights are hung.
    The adjacent Greek revival mansion houses the hotel’s restaurant, bar and event spacesAcross the American Deep South, former warehouses in what are now considered prime tourist locations have slowly been transformed into hotels that retain the original industrial character.
    In New Orleans, the The Eliza Jane Hotel occupies a series similar structures close to the historic French Quarter.
    The photography is by Wade Hall.

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    The Rome Edition opens in converted 1940s bank building

    American entrepreneur Ian Schrager’s The Edition group has landed in Rome, opening a hotel in a converted bank that makes use of its soaring lobby, original marble staircases and hidden front courtyard.

    The Rome Edition began welcoming guests earlier this year to the 91-room hotel, located a block away from Via Veneto – the street that was immortalised in the 1960 movie La Dolce Vita.
    Arrival to The Rome Edition is via a path under a bronze pergola that leads to the lobbySchrager and his in-house team spearheaded the renovation of the grand building, utilising many of the original features including a cipollino marble staircase, central courtyards, statues and lamps.
    “Built in the 1940s and formerly occupied by one of the main Italian banks, the building is a striking example of the rationalist style and was created by Cesare Pascoletti in collaboration with the famed architect Marcello Piacentini,” said The Edition team.
    The plant-filled, sunken courtyard acts as an all-day lounge and dining spotUnusually for Rome, arriving guests are escorted through a sunken garden “piazza” – which acts as an outdoor lounge, restaurant extension and gathering place – before reaching the lobby.

    Once inside, dramatic seven-metre-high ceilings, full-height windows and green curtains, and travertine floors and walls set the tone for The Edition’s signature brand of soft minimalism.
    The dramatic hotel lobby features seven-metre-high ceilings and full-height green curtainsSymmetrical arrangements of custom white furniture and low coffee tables exaggerate the strict geometry of the architecture.
    “The lobby is Edition at its most dynamic,” said the team. “It is a place to relax and make merry; a place to see and be seen or play a few games of pool on the custom-made table.”
    The Amina restaurant is divided into two dining spaces, one of which is accented with chartreuse-coloured upholstery and carpetFor the hotel’s signature restaurant, Anima, the team partnered with local chef Paola Colucci on a menu that puts a modern spin on family recipes and traditional Roman dishes.
    Amber glass separates the kitchen from the two dining areas, one with chartreuse-toned accents across furniture and artwork, and the other blue.
    The restaurant’s second dining space is decorated with blue accentsThe various bar areas on the lobby level each provide guests with a experience. The Punch Room is a concept borrowed from other Edition properties including another recent opening in Tampa and occupies a cosy room with warm wood panelling and deep red tones, for sharing bowls of punch – a 17th-century tradition that’s been given a contemporary spin.
    A dark walnut bar, Rosso Levanto marble fireplace, dark pink velvet sofas, and custom armchairs in rosewood and dark brown leather all add to the cosy atmosphere in the dimly lit space.
    Off the lobby, The Punch Room bar is lined in walnut and includes dark pink velvet furnitureWith space for just 10, the intimate Jade Bar features a rotating cocktail menu and is fully lined in deep green antique marble.
    This small and dramatic room is furnished with emerald-hued velvet soft seating and satin brass and gold accents – including a wall-mounted sculpture influenced by artist Jeff Koons.
    The Jade Bar is wrapped in antique green marble, with emerald seating and brushed brass accentsIn the front courtyard, The Garden is filled with over 400 plants and lightly perfumed by the jasmine that climbs over the facade.
    A bronze awning divides the outdoor space in two, with an al fresco dining area for Amina on one side, and an all-day casual terrace for cocktails and light bites on the other.

    Tampa “about to explode” as a destination, says Edition hotels founder Ian Schrager

    Teak banquettes and free-standing furniture are surrounded by “an Italianate arrangement of lanterns to give it the feel of a traditional Roman garden”.
    The roof terrace on the seventh floor features a pool and bar area that offers sweeping views over the Eternal City’s rooftops.
    Walnut wall panelling and herringbone floors feature in the bright guest roomsIn the bright guest rooms, walnut wall panelling and herringbone floors are paired with custom beige leather furniture.
    Carrera marble basins and brushed brass fixtures stand out against the grey stone bathrooms, and frosted glass partitions are used to conceal showers and toilets.
    Carrera marble sinks contrast the dark grey stone in the bathroomsThe Rome Edition is the group’s 16th global property, following locations that include Times Square in New York, West Hollywood in Los Angeles, and Tokyo.
    The Madrid Edition, designed with British minimalist John Pawson, was longlisted in the hotel and short-stay interiors category of Dezeen Awards 2022.
    The photography is by Nikolas Koenig.

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    Otherworlds transforms Goan villa into restaurant that “celebrates chance encounters”

    Local design studio Otherworlds drew on the traditional Goan balcão when converting a 1980s villa in Panjim, India, into the Terttulia restaurant and bar.

    Housed in a Portuguese-style villa, Terttulia Goa is defined by a central island bar informed by the balcão – an outdoor porch with built-in seats that serves as the entrance to a typical Goan home.
    The restaurant takes its name from the Spanish word tertulia, meaning a social gathering with literary or artistic associations.
    Intimate two-seater booths flank the bar”The balcão is a crucial part of a Goan home as this is where one spends most of their time,” Otherworlds founder Arko told Dezeen.
    “At a time of rampant urbanisation, all houses tend to become very self-contained, private and detached, separated away from the city or the neighbourhood,” he continued.

    “The balcão becomes all the more important at such a time as it is built with the idea of reinforcing the kinship between the house and the neighbourhood.”
    Terttulia Goa is defined by a central bar informed by the balcãoMultidisciplinary studio Otherworlds overhauled the villa, which it describes as a “formerly enclosed shell”, by removing some of the external walls and extending the dining area into an outdoor porch.
    This area is sheltered by a large bamboo canopy with elliptical openings that diffuse the natural light, transforming the space throughout the day.
    The canopy is intended to mitigate the region’s extreme weather conditions; sheltering customers from the rain during monsoon season and providing a semi-open space with plenty of air circulation during the hot summer months.
    Low-hung lamps add a sense of “whimsy”Otherworlds designed the bar so that customers face each other, rather than facing the wall, in a bid to “encourage chance encounters”.
    “The intention was to create an immersive atmospheric experience that inspires a feeling of being in a tropical, lush outdoor space under an overgrown natural canopy,” said Arko.
    A metal and fluted glass structure hung from the building’s external walls floats above the white marble bartop and holds the arc-shaped lamps that light the intimate two-seater booths flanking the bar.
    A bamboo canopy was inserted to mitigate the region’s extreme weather conditionsAt night, the restaurant is lit by low-hung sinuous lamps informed by sweeping stems that are intended to add a sense of “whimsy” to the interior.
    Adhering to Terttulia’s signature green and white colour scheme, the studio opted for a palette of locally sourced materials, including the green-pigmented hand-cast concrete that it used to create the restaurant’s flooring.
    “The green pigmented hand-cast concrete floor, largely termed as IPS [Indian Patent stone], is found in most places in the country and is also used to finish the balcão in all Goan homes,” Arko explained.
    Terttulia Goa is housed in a revamped 1980s villaOtherworlds worked with local workshop Jyamiti & Sea to create ovoid terrazzo accents that are scattered in various places across the floor and walls.
    The studio achieved what it terms “the perfect green” using a mixture of white and grey cement and green oxide pigment.
    Otherworlds opted for a palette of locally sourced materials”The tricky bit with coloured concrete is achieving the exact shade [because] once the cement sets and is polished, the result is quite different from the initial wet mix,” said Arko.
    “The process required numerous iterations and experiments to get the right mixture of materials that would yield the correct shade.”
    The green cement is offset by dark wood derived from the matti, Goa’s state tree.
    “We imagined the restaurant to be an extension of the house and while being part of it, [we also wanted it to] feel like a part of the city.”
    Other projects that take a contemporary approach to Indian design traditions include a rammed-earth family home in Rajasthan designed by Sketch Design Studio and a Rain Studio-designed “native yet contemporary” home in Chennai.
    The photography is by Suryan and Dang. 

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    Cho Thompson unearths Boston building’s history to inform office interiors

    US studio Atelier Cho Thompson has redesigned the shared spaces for an office building in Boston, borrowing shapes and materials from its history for new interior elements.

    The project involved reimagining the communal areas at 179 Lincoln Street, a full-block building in the city’s Leather District that was constructed as a shoe factory in 1899.
    Arched motifs on the facade of 179 Lincoln Street were reinterpreted as grooves in the lobby’s plaster wallsAtelier Cho Thompson looked to this history to guide the design of areas at the margins of the building, including the under-utilized lobby space, a dark central core, and empty pocket spaces on each of five floors – all totalling 8,000 square feet (743 square metres).
    “We unearthed and amplified the building’s rich history while creating a space that is responsive to the needs of the post-pandemic workplace,” said studio founder Cho Thompson.
    Finger-shaped backrests for a bench are wrapped in leather to nod to the building’s shoe-making pastWork began with removing the layers of previous renovations, including vinyl tile and commercial carpet, which had left areas “dark and generic”.

    The team uncovered original terrazzo floors in some areas and worked with experts to restore any sections that were damaged.
    Arches are also hewn into the white oak counter front in the receptionThey also looked to the arched geometry and detailed ornamentation of the building’s historic facade for interior design cues.
    The arches are repeated in the lobby as grooved patterns across the hand-troweled plaster walls, and again at a smaller scale around the white oak front of the marble-topped reception counter.
    Brass details including handrails match the building’s original mail chute”With a modern sensibility, we developed a language of detail that brought elements of the exterior into the building’s core,” Thompson said.
    “In that transformation, we brought a playful spirit, bringing massive forms down to human size and creating juxtapositions of materials, patterns, and scales.”
    In other communal areas, original red brick walls and terrazzo floors are exposedShiny black floors contrast the pale colour palette used across all other surfaces, while brass – chosen to match the building’s mail chute – provides a bright accent on railings, drawer handles and other details.
    Lighting fixtures by Lam Partners comprise globe-shaped components attached to thin brass supports, in a variety of linear configurations.
    Multiple counters are provided for group work and conversations between colleaguesIn other “in-between” communal areas, red brick walls and columns are exposed beneath skylights.
    A series of brass-topped counters are scattered through these spaces, creating spots for casual conversation between colleagues.

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    Banquettes and benches also provide opportunities for group and collaborative work outside of typical meeting rooms.
    These are upholstered in dusty pink leather as a nod to the building’s shoe-making past.
    These casual meeting spaces are designed to respond to the changing needs of office workers”This project responds to the changing landscape of office life by offering opportunities that go beyond what we can experience in only working from home,” said Thompson.
    “With a hospitality approach, the spaces of the project offer a fresh, welcoming, and inclusive place to spend time with colleagues.”
    Polished brass is also used for signage and wayfinding. Photo by Samara ViseReimagining historic buildings as contemporary workplaces is a common challenge for architects and designers, and refreshing communal or public-facing spaces is typically an impactful place to start.
    Similarly, GRT Architects overhauled the entrance to the art deco Fashion Tower in New York, restoring its facade and modernising the lobby.
    The photography is by Jared Kuzia, unless stated otherwise.
    Project credits:
    Client: EQ OfficeArchitect: Atelier Cho ThompsonLighting designer: Lam Partners

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    Ivy Studio converts historic bank building into offices for Montreal ad agency

    The offices that Montreal’s Ivy Studio has designed for digital advertising agency Cardigan include a mesh-wrapped mezzanine and a “futuristic” basement within a former bank building.

    For Cardigan’s expanding team, Ivy Studio has renovated a stone building that was built as a bank in 1907, in the Rosemont area of Montreal.
    Ivy Studio inserted a steel mesh mezzanine inside the historic bank building to provide additional spaceThe structure has had many uses, including most recently a religious establishment, and boasts plenty of historic architectural details.
    While the upper floor is a residential condo, Cardigan occupies 1,250 square feet (116 square metres) across the ground and basement levels – spaces with very different ceiling heights and light conditions.
    The mesh was painted white to accentuate the bright and airy feel in the office space”One of the main challenges of working with the building was the contrasting ceiling heights between each floor,” said Ivy Studio. “This made the spacial blocking very important at the start of the project.”

    To benefit from the 16.5 foot (5 metres) clearance and abundance of natural light, all the workstations are positioned on the ground level.
    Under the mezzanine sit multiple phone booths and meeting roomsHowever, the floor plate was not sufficient to accommodate all 25 employees as well as meeting rooms, so the studio took advantage of the ceiling height and added a mezzanine.
    This addition was placed in a corner to avoid blocking the arched windows, and was painted entirely white to accentuate the bright and airy atmosphere of the space.
    During the renovation, the building’s large arched windows were fully uncovered to let in more lightThe structure is made from perforated steel mesh, allowing light to enter the phone booths and meeting rooms tucked underneath, and a gap was left between the mesh and the glass partitions behind to make space for planters.
    Additional workstations are located on top of the mezzanine, which is curved at its corner. “The newly-built mezzanine structure interprets the curves of the existing space without competing with them,” Ivy Studio said.

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    To let even more light in, the boarded window arches were reopened to their original form, while the parquet flooring was replaced with natural oak to retain the warmth.
    Meanwhile, in the basement, low ceiling heights and a lack of windows called for an entirely contrasting strategy.
    “It is a different universe of its own,” said Ivy Studio, which took a “futuristic, in your face” approach to the sub-grade space.
    In the windowless basement, a contrasting “futuristic” aesthetic was chosenThis level accommodates the bathrooms, kitchen, lounge and storage, and features a mix of plastered ceilings, ceramic walls and epoxy floors.
    In the kitchen, all of the surfaces are coloured baby blue, while the adjacent bathroom block is completely grey.
    The spaces are colour-blocked to heighten their visual impactAcross the kitchen island, a circular mirror faces an opening that’s exactly the same shape and leads into a room painted in orange.
    “The spaces are all monochromatic, to increase the visual impact of their intense colors but also help camouflage the imperfections of the existing building,” said Ivy Studio.
    Baby blue and stainless steel cover the kitchenThe office’s levels are linked by two staircases: an older one made from wood and a newer minimal design that emerges from under an arched portico.
    Both are painted navy blue and are intended to reflect Cardigan’s contradicting “hard-working yet playful values”.
    The adjacent bathroom is executed entirely in greyIvy Studio’s portfolio of projects in its home city spans from workspaces and restaurants, to a spinning studio and a dry cleaners.
    Recently completed interiors by the firm include a creative hub populated with pink and purple elements, and a renovated eatery that was damaged in a fire.
    The photography is by Alex Lesage.
    Project credits:
    Design and architecture: Ivy StudioConstruction: Group Manovra

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    Studio BV converts Minneapolis biscuit factory into offices for Our Family Wizard

    Dark blue meeting rooms surround an atrium filled with globe-shaped lights at the offices of a Minneapolis tech company, which locally based Studio BV created in a former biscuit factory.

    Studio BV created the 40,000-square-foot (3,700-square-metre) space for Our Family Wizard, an app designed to assist with co-parenting after divorce, inside the historic Loose Wiles Building in Minneapolis’s North Loop neighbourhood.
    A large atrium filled with glass globe lights sits at the centre of the buildingAs the company’s first “real” office, it was important for the designers to imbue the spaces with its branding and personality, to help build a sense of identity, as well as entice those used to working from home into the workplace.
    “The company had grown during the pandemic and wanted to find a new office that would be a draw for the employee mix and for people to come together and create relationships,” said Studio BV.
    Some of the factory’s brick walls were left exposed, while ceilings and ductwork were painted whiteThe building was once home to the Sunshine Biscuit Company, which produced snacks like Cheez-Its and Animal Crackers, and the team was keen to retain many of its original features.

    “The historic components of the building reflect the past, old methods, rough textures,” they said. “These components are embraced and in response we bring natural, and organic textures and color to the places where teams gather and connect.”
    Lounge areas and breakout spaces ring the upper floorSome of the exposed brick walls were left untreated, while concrete columns, ceiling beams and ductwork were painted white.
    Meanwhile, colours lifted from Our Family Wizard’s visual identity were introduced to assist with wayfinding and to inject personality.
    Clerestory windows bring light into communal workspacesDark blue paint was applied to the large meeting room walls, and a paler shade lines smaller one-on-one booths.
    Both hues were chosen for sofa upholstery in the lounge and breakout spaces that ring the upper level.
    Perforated panels separate seating booths in the upper-level barA large two-storey atrium in the middle of the floor plan brings extra daylight from the upper clerestory windows down into the lower levels.
    On one side of a central brick structure, the atrium void is occupied by a chandelier of globe-shaped pendants, suspended on individual wires at different heights.

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    On the other, wooden bleacher-style seating for large team gatherings connects two lower levels, descending to one of two bar areas at its base.
    The second bar, located on the upper level, features booth seating divided by perforated panels as well as cafe chairs and tables.
    The office features two bars to encourage employees to socialise”The unique character of this historic building is enhanced by the new office and amenity areas,” said Studio BV founder and CEO, Betsy Vohs.
    “The old historic ovens and openings are used to connect people between the floors. The large volume of space is flooded with daylight from the large windows and clerestory glass.”
    Blue tones used for upholstery are borrowed from the company’s visual identityOffices for technology companies have come a long way since the slides and foosball tables of the dot-com boom.
    Recently completed examples include a Southern California workplace linked by black staircases and a repurposed power station in Singapore
    The photography is by Corey Gaffer.

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    House of Shila designs industrial yet sultry interiors for Mona Athens hotel

    The ancient Acropolis of Athens is in full view from the rooftop of this boutique hotel, which design studio House of Shila has housed in a former factory building.

    Mona Athens is located in the city’s lively Psirri district, within an eight-storey 1950s building that once served as a textile factory.
    The Mona Athens lobby features an eclectic mix of furniture and decorHouse of Shila, led by New York-based entrepreneur Shai Antebi and Greek photographer and creative director Eftihia Stefanidi, chose to keep as much of the building’s bones as possible when converting it into a 20-key hotel.
    This meant retaining its original dramatic iron staircase, terrazzo flooring, metal window frames and marble facade.
    The spilt-level communal space houses a lounge and cafe”We designed Mona with great respect for the building’s 1950s architecture,” said Stefanidi.

    “The structure itself remains unchanged, revealing 70 years of history. Emphasis was given to preserving original features.”
    House of Shila retained as many of the building’s original details as possibleLayering over industrial materials like exposed concrete and weathering steel, the team added wooden furniture and textured fabrics to bring warmth and tactility to the spaces throughout.
    Accessed from the street, the 200-square-metre split-level lobby serves as a lounge and a cafe that can host pop-up events and installations.
    A variety of textured materials are layered over the building’s industrial bonesAn eclectic mix of furniture and decor populate the space, which can be opened to the outside via full-height folding glass doors.
    The hotel’s six different room categories range from intimate rooms of around 16 to 20 square metres all the way up to the 55-square-metre penthouses and Mona’s Suite, with some of the larger rooms providing access to private balconies and patios.
    Wash areas are open to the sleeping quarters in many of the roomsAll feature a similar sultry-meets-industrial aesthetic, which House of Shila compares to a “sensual refuge”, characterised by curtains of sheer cotton and richly-coloured velvet, low minimalist beds, custom-knitted carpets and soft lighting from bespoke fixtures.
    In the majority of the guest rooms, the washing areas are open to the sleeping quarters – with separate water closets for privacy – and some feature comfy lounge seating.
    Larger suites have access to porches, balconies and patiosWhite freestanding Corian bathtubs and industrial-style rain showers are shrouded by translucent curtains, creating a “certain balance of comfort and drama”, according to the design studio.
    The open rooftop offers a direct view of the Parthenon and other structures atop the Acropolis, the UNESCO-listed epicentre of Ancient Greece, while the tourist entrance to the site is a 15-minute walk from the hotel.

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    Reserved for Mona Athens guests and members, this outdoor space includes a long glass-and-metal communal table, cushioned sofas, outdoor showers, lush planting and a bar that serves cocktails and “eclectic fare” with ingredients sourced from the local food market.
    There’s also a speakeasy venue in the basement, where pop-up exhibitions and private events can take place.
    Freestanding Corian bathtubs are set against weathering steelAll of the decorative items in the rooms are available for guests to purchase, from the organic cotton bedsheets to the ceramic coffee cups.
    Antebi’s background is in real estate development while Stefanidi was previously the creative director for immersive entertainment company Secret Cinema.
    The rooftop is reserved for hotel guests and membersThe duo founded House of Shila after working together on their first hospitality project Shila – another boutique hotel-cum-arts venue in Athens’ Kolonaki neighbourhood.
    Once a quick stopover for tourists on the way to the Greek islands, the capital is becoming a popular destination for city breaks in its own right, thanks to its rich history, growing culinary scene, year-round fair weather and relative affordability.
    A prime view of the Acropolis can be enjoyed from the roofThe owner of Carwan Gallery described Athens as “the new Berlin” when the contemporary design gallery relocated there from Beirut in 2020.
    Several boutique hotels have opened or undergone renovation in the downtown area over the past few years, including the neo-modernist Perianth Hotel and the Evripidis Hotel, which received a new rooftop bar and breakfast room.
    The photography is by Ana Santl.

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    Capella hotel takes over former government building in Sydney

    Architecture firm Make and interior design practice BAR Studio have converted Sydney’s heritage-listed Department of Education building into the latest outpost from Capella Hotels.

    The adaptive reuse project involved adding a modern extension with curved glass corners to the building’s roof, set back from its sandstone facade to respect the original Edwardian Baroque architecture.
    With these four additional floors, the building now measures eleven storeys high and houses 192 guest rooms alongside bars, restaurants and a 20-metre swimming pool that occupies the former sixth-floor gallery.
    Sydney’s Department of Education building was converted into a Capella hotelSince the Department of Education was constructed in Sydney’s historic Sandstone Precinct in 1912, its interior had been compromised with countless ad-hoc changes, according to Make.
    The studio worked to restore the sense of grandeur envisioned by the original architect George McRae, for example by reinstating the internal garden courtyard on the ground floor.

    “Stitching together the existing Edwardian Baroque-style structure with a new contemporary layer of architecture is one of many things that makes this landmark project stand out as a hotel,” Make designer Michelle Evans told Dezeen.
    It now houses 192 guest rooms and restaurants including Brasseries 1930″Capella Sydney has been a joy to work on, as it builds on our growing portfolio of reusing and adapting existing and heritage buildings,” she added.
    Picking up the baton from Make, hospitality design firm BAR Studio was tasked with creating luxurious yet contemporary interiors for the hotel that work seamlessly with the history of the building.
    “The heritage building that houses Capella Sydney provided us with the underpinning for the interior design,” said co-founder Stewart Robertson.
    A swimming pool occupies the building’s sixth-floor galleryWhile the building’s exterior was largely intact, only a few areas of historical significance remained inside.
    Some of these spaces offered incredible opportunities for reinvention, such as the gallery on the former top floor, which has become the Auriga spa and pool.
    Meanwhile, references to the original steel-framed windows were incorporated into the interiors via a recurring motif of framed forms.

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    Steel in black and bronze finishes was used throughout the building to frame doors, windows and screens, making a subtle reference to the district’s origins in the age of industry.
    This serves the practical purpose of delineating and dividing spaces but also brings a restrained form of embellishment, Robertson said.
    “We’ve used framing techniques to create separation but also to build an organic connection between the public spaces,” he explained.
    “We wanted the colour and finish to feel appropriate to the original era but also for these elements to read as new and sophisticated insertions.”
    The same floor also houses a spaA palette of natural materials brings a sense of subtle luxury to the bedrooms and communal spaces.
    Steel was used alongside honed marble, sandblasted travertine, natural wall coverings and light and dark timber. This approach enables the heritage features as well as the art and objects to become the focal points.
    The colour palette, too, is simple and neutral, taking its cues from the material palette with stone-coloured walls and tan leather upholstery.
    Each treatment room sits under a one of the original roof lanterns”The neutral base palette of cream stone and dark and light timber integrates with the existing architectural and design elements but sets a warm and soothing mood, creating a real sanctuary from the surrounding city,” explained Robertson.
    In keeping with the light touch of the new architectural interventions, much of the furniture draws on the concept of campaign furniture – traditionally made for military campaigns and therefore easy to transport.
    “These portable and ingenious pieces bring the comforts of home to remote places,” said Robertson.
    A recurring motif of framed forms features throughout the hotel’s interiorsOther Capella hotels include the Norman Foster-designed Capella Resort – set on an island off the coast of Singapore – and the Capella Sanya, which won the 2020 AHEAD Asia award for best landscaping and outdoor spaces.
    The photography is by Timothy Kay.

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