Zash Country Boutique Hotel, Riposto (Catania), Archline studio (Antonio Iraci) The project is the conversion of an historical building into a top quality boutique hotel: care and simplicity are the mainstays of this tempered transformation combining renovation of existing spaces and restoration of materials and structures with a contemporary building intervention, evident but not invasive and enhanced by key architectural additions. Located in the province of Catania, at Riposto, the Zash Hotel lies in a rural setting boasting views of the Ionian sea and Mount Etna, in land once covered in vineyards and now full of citrus groves. The compact volume of the old building, a country hideaway nobly endowed with spacious decorated rooms with high ceilings, joins forces with the spaces required on a farming estate: the ground floor, the most prominent historical element, was once a winery. Its rustic ambience with vaults and imposing lava stone walls still houses the old wine press now serving as a focal point of interest. The project is inspired by the old functional layout of the building and proceeds to separate the rooms, calibrating the intervention to accommodate key architectural features and highlighting them in the new hotel. The small number of rooms are imbued with quality elements chosen to modulate the coeval intelligence of old and new in an ongoing dialogue. Four rooms on the first floor, high ceilings with large chestnut-framed windows, retain the elegant old-world features blending into the contemporary design. The underlying concept is to give precedence to the spectacular countryside, welcoming guests into a light stylized ambience. The pure composition of the custom-designed furnishings goes hand in hand with the bright light tones of walls and fixtures. The materials span subtle hues within a range of colour and surface finishes: oak floors, lava stone insets cladding set-off areas in the rooms (the fireplace in the main suite, parts of the bathrooms). On the ground floor, the project refines the wall restoration by showing off the rugged porous surface of exposed lava stone: the juxtaposition of new and old becomes the hallmark mixing conserved structures with add-on functions and rooms. One side of the building houses three ground-floor rooms construed as ìwhiteî volumes almost dazzling in their brightness, with white resin floors and matching furnishings in stark contrast with the solid lava stone walls. On the other side, the communal spaces located in the old winery are characterized by the visual and tactile effect of lava stone: the furnishings for the restaurant, bar, and rooms for relaxation, conversation or meetings yield to the expressivity of the stone and the wine press, a complicated technical device made of wood dominating the space. The north-facing extension of the building stands out in contrasting lightness: two rooms in a single volumetric block highlighting the transparency and formal clarity of the rooms. The large glass floor-to-ceiling walls with internal roller louvres form a space unfolding and enveloping the citrus groves and grass on the outside: the extension into the garden is set against the characteristic ìlava-greyî hues of the volume and indoor spaces, enhanced by the lava stone slab inserts decorating the bathrooms and headboards. The Zash Country Boutique Hotel was awarded first prize in the 2013 edition of the PIDA international hotel architecture competition (Ischia International Architecture Award).
Location: Giarre, Catania
Gross Floor Area: 510 m2
Architects: Architetto Antonio Iraci e Carla Maugeri
Structural Project: Studio Archline Works
Management: Architetto Antonio Iraci e Carla Maugeri
Garden: Piante Faro
Lighting: Viabizzuno, Flos, Davide Groppi
Bathroom Fixtures: Newform, Gessi, Glass
Furnishings: Living Divani, Kartell
Window and Door Frames:Sicilcima - Schueco
Photography: © Alfio Garozzo
Studio Archline is involved in private residential builds, hospitality premises, industrial design, and commercial, industrial and public buildings, managing the entire process from conception to works management. Encompassing both small and large-scale projects, its designs demonstrate a pronounced figurative break from existing concepts, as it experiments with design ideas marked by pure minimalism. The design process generally begins by establishing guidelines for the ground plan based on the building’s setting, while the architectural form reflects adjoining roadways and elevations. The essential nature of these two compositional foundations is then overlaid with a contemporary architectural language, the use of curved surfaces, and a bringing together of volumes, projecting elements, full and empty spaces, light and shade, and solid and transparent elements. The use of different exterior shells then contributes to a perception of buildings as a coupling of monolithic blocks – a geometric world in which every curve is required by the setting, surfaces are as transparent as possible, spaces are reduced to the joining of lines, and the interior and exterior form a continuum, extending indoor spaces outdoors. The practice is currently involved in the design and construction of residential units in Italy’s Sicily, Puglia, Lombardy, and Veneto regions, as well as in Serbia.
Born in Misterbianco on 11 April 1961, Iraci graduated with honours from the Reggio Calabria Faculty of Architecture in 1988. He established Archline in January 1989 as an architecture workshop that approaches each project as an opportunity for ??research and experimentation.
Born in Catania on 11 June 1978, Maugeri graduated from the Siracusa Faculty of Architecture. Her personal approach to design has grown from a deep knowledge of architectural form.