At the foot of the Imperial Forum, looking out onto the Basilica di Massenzio and the Colosseum, a sumptuous eighteenth-century Roman building is presented in a surprising version: he combines classic elements and glorious quotes with a vibrant botanical interior design in an explosion of bright colors and exotic decorations.
The architect Giorgia Dennerlein of Loto Ad Project architecture studio has transformed the 2000 square meters of the building into an unexpected (whimsical) boutique hotel, consisting of 12 exclusive residences of 80 square meters, situated on two floors. Palm Suite by Manfredi Fine Hotels Collection amazes with its joyful and playful environments, with lush graphics and vivid colors. Fil rouge? The palm tree, ça va sans dire.
Present in Rome as far back as the Suetonius era, palm tree becoming a fashionable plant by the end of the 1800s. Later on, during the colonial period of the Fascist era, Italy was fond of using African style decorations, to remind people of its pomp and conquests.
“Palm trees are a familiar sight to whoever lives in the capital, like water fountains and cobblestones. They belong in our urban views, from Piazza Cavour to Villa Celimontana, from the Spanish Steps to Colle Oppio, and as far as the Roman Forum. We could even say that the tree is the symbol of Rome” explain Giorgia Dennerlein, Italian architect of metteleuropean origins who has made of this cultural syncretism the strong point of her work. In his projects he draws one a private geography – with extremely feminine features and an imaginative palette – able to put in communication different spaces for a final result of surprising continuity between the outside and the inside, both in a literal and metaphorical sense.
In the ancient and majestic building, characterized by a wooden vaulted ceiling and open brick, Giorgia Dennerlein intervened with a light renovation project, respecting the pre-existing elements, the context and the essence of the place. The protagonist of the restyling is the color, bright and lashing.
The wooden fishbone flooring, creates a background for the cloudy grey walls, using natural colours, which will tarnish in time. The doors and the frames are lacquered pearly grey, to make them brighter.
For the furnishings, complements and objects, natural fabrics and African style on cotton are combined with polypropylene textile fibres, woven by hand. Bright colours and exotic patterns predominate in all the upholstering, especially on the padded headboard, which was designed by Loto Ad project, using cane and decorated with palms and flowers. The palm tree is featured once again in the wallpaper, as well as the lamp shades to bring together the theme of the project.
A whimsical make-up transforms spaces: the mix of vintage pieces, eclectic fabrics designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix and Roman busts with imperial echoes, are flanked by designer furnishings, such as the Shadowy armchair, the Sunny chair and pouf designed by Tord Boontje for Moroso, in addition to the graceful and enveloping Calatea armchair by Pianca, to which Cristina Celestino has given an organic shape inspired by the homonymous plant native to South America, which also incorporates the surprising natural colors. Finally, the bathroom walls have been covered in tatami mats in synthetic fibers and a strip of mirrors create a frame around them.
The floral and palm tree theme enhances the link between the interior and the exterior walls overlooking the gardens of the Forum, almost creating a natural and spontaneous indoor-outdoor.
In the entrance to the building, on the staircase and hallway, yellow and hazelnut travertine has been used to creates a palette of colours which blend both the exotic and colonial with shades from the era of Imperial Rome, theme that is also emphasised with the Roman busts which create a minimalistic and refined ‘museum’ style.
Externally, in a small square with a lounge area, (real) palm trees once again continue the theme of the suites.