JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa consists of a contemporary reinterpretation of an island with its own naturalistic and artistic identity how your intervention of transformation of old structures into contemporaneous modern, functional entities was conceived and realized in order not to lose the soul of the place?
We had a very intense collaboration with Venice superintendence, who did appreciate a lot our concept keeping the soul and history of this magic place when transforming it into a luxury resort. Thanks to this close relationship with Venice’ authorities, an in-depth research on the history of the island and many site visits we were able to really capture the emotions and atmosphere of the island. The holistic approach of our team working on this project from the masterplan of the island to every single detail of the interior design made it possible to transform the whole island with its more than 20 existing buildings, various green zones and the buried canal into a harmonious luxury resort and spa.
Luxury is generally connected with the idea of opulence, of indulging in great comforts: how it is possible to conjugate this perception of ‘luxury’ with your proposal that offers ‘luxury through subtraction’? On which qualitative aspects is based your concept of ‘luxury’ resort?
Luxury for me means wellbeing while really experiencing a certain place, mentally connect with it, its nature, its history…
Staying at the JW Marriott Venice means to be in a place where the building’s walls tells stories as well as the gardens and parks that we’ve brought back to their original states while being in a state of absolute wellbeing.
You often spoke about your attempt of transmitting an immersive ‘sensorial’, ‘tactile’ experience through an attentive selection of materials. Based on which materials and architectural language the new transformation of Rose Island Resort is able to involve his guests, provoking feelings of well-being?
One of the main concepts we’ve adapted to bring back life to the abandoned island, without destroying the already existing buildings was the “Box in the Box” principle: building inside the old walls, without touching them. This has permitted us to build with newest technologies and adapting to highest standards, leaving the ancient walls telling their stories and transmitting a special feeling to all visitors and guests of the JW Marriott Venice Resort.
In occasion of a round table held at the Faculty of Architecture in Ferrara 2012, you mentioned that one of your heroes is Richard Long, the British artist who makes art simply walking in remote, uninhabited landscapes, making sculptures with raw materials along the way, listening to the music of the stones, sleeping by the river’s roar. Is this a bit ’artistically’ what you should like to achieve in your works? Can you explain? How did you deal with the relationship between architecture and landscape in this last project?
Richard Long brings nature into the world of art, for us nature is one of the main pillars of our architectures.
On Rose Island we brought back live to the island, we recreated the original state of the island’s green zones and readapted the buildings to today’s use always with the history and soul of this very special place in mind.
Is the importance of this deep affinity between man and nature that inspires the simplicity of your design imposing a certain rigor and the guiding lines of your sustainable architectural language?
Me and my team we go to the site of every single project a lot of times before starting to work on it properly, to know how the winds behave, light at sunrise and sunset, how green zones and plants, stones appear in the various times of a day or seasons.
For me this is one of the most important parts of the project and it is necessary to take time for this phase in order to be able to deeply understand a place before working on it.
Isn’t it difficult in the actual society that overwhelms us with an exceeding amount of possibilities and opportunities (for example, in the selection of materials and finishings) to work, as you say, ‘through subtraction’?
If you dedicate the right time to get to know a place and its atmosphere and listen to your instinct usually you have already made the right choice without any difficulties, in spite of the wide range of possibilities we have today.
Text collected by Virginia Cucchi.