The story of the críu, an ancient Sicilian implement used to sieve flour and grainy compounds like breadcrumbs, is a tradition that goes back a very long way but is still alive today, and very much a local identifier. The name brings to mind rare, green-eared Scorzonera wheat and conjures up a series of symbols that underpin the personality and nature of the Críu Boutique Hotel. Located on the slopes of Etna between the mountains and the sea, the hotel’s characteristics are inspired by its name.
Created by recovering and converting a 1950s villa on pilotis, the lineaT Studio-designed accommodation facility was conceived on a human scale as a place where guests feel at home and experience an atmosphere that is as family-inspired as it is Sicilian, cultivating a sense of discovery and rewarding the pleasure of travel. In their design, firm founders Giorgia Testa and Salvatore Terranova were keen to express their curiosity about local traditions, manifested through the scents, flavors and colors of this part of the world. All of the small pieces of the puzzle at Críu Boutique Hotel tell the story of the Mediterranean through the authentic, genuine, personal prism of the volcano’s southern slopes and the rest of the region, establishing a special link between nature, the environment and minimalist design to enhance quality of life.
“We would love to find a críu on all our journeys”, say the designers. “It is the home we would like to become a benchmark for travelers who seek a relationship with nature and are environmentally conscious, demanding yet at the same time lovers of simplicity”. All these characteristics are reflected as much in the services as the architecture, starting with repurposing elements found in situ, and renewal of the internal space distribution. The overall design evolved out of the idea of restoring the existing building without distorting its clear lines, which remain visible inside and out, while preserving an envelope that has a low impact on the surroundings.
A living area with kitchen and a corner dedicated to breakfast, a moment of the day to savor in contact with the other guests, form the heart of the second-floor common area. The culinary experience and a liaison with local producers is a central focus for the design, evident from the lava stone-topped open preparation space adjacent to the breakfast table. This and the other materials selected for the interiors – wooden seating, birch plywood for vertical elements, and rope used in other furnishings – all tell the story of Sicily.
The same refined materiality is evident in the bedrooms and the suite, which reference local elements and natural phenomena starting from their names: Cotto, Terra, Salvia, Ghiara, Lavica, Sale, Neve and Manna, five bedrooms on the first floor and three on the second. The two levels are connected via a curving Cor-Ten® sheet steel structure staircase conservatively erected to enhance a pre-existing double-height space.
The home-like atmosphere continues in the ground floor restaurant and outdoor spaces, characterized by an idea of Mediterranean-inflected comfort.