June 1, 2010

The Sweetest Suites: Italy’s I-Suite Hotel Embodies Contemporary Luxury

A five-star hotel in the popular Italian resort of Rimini, I-Suite not only flouts design conventions—it sometimes even defies gravity. “This is contemporary luxury,” Simone Micheli says. Having built a port­folio of residential, restaurant, and retail interiors as well as hotels, Simone Micheli Architecture Zero partnered on this project with Giovanni Quadrelli of Qstudio Company, which specializes in residential work, and both architects were determined to shake up what is sometimes a stodgy sector. “New luxury does not mean habit but rather movement and freedom,” Micheli elaborates. Instead of standard rectangular rooms, the eight-story ground-up building’s meandering floor plans create 54 unique suites with interlocking volumes and surprising sight lines. “The forms are soft. They caress the spirit,” he continues.

And instead of traditional textiles and wallpaper, seating covered in chartreuse acrylic stands out against white walls. 

From start to finish, I-Suite was an eight-year effort, a time period consumed partially by the formidable Italian bureaucracy and furthermore by the process of custom-fabricating each table, bed, sink, and even faucet. Most of the furnishings represent an obvious departure from hotel norms, but visitors may be pleased to note a few familiar references. Side chairs in the ground-level restaurant look like Charles and Ray Eames, while decorative trusses between windows in the top-floor spa recall John Lautner’s Chemosphere house.

Photography by Jurgen Eheim.

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