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Hotel Duomo, Rimini, Italy

Issue 35 Feb / Mar 2007 : Retail : Hotel


Design teams Ron Arad Associates and David Atkinson Lighting Design were approached to liven up this traditional hotel in an attempt to attract a younger clientele. the result is a dynamic and modern venue that’s scooping awards all over the world.

The Duomo Hotel existed in the historic centre of Rimini – one of Italy’s established seaside resorts – unchanged for many years until 2003 when Ron Arad Associates were asked to redesign it as a way to address the changing demand in the area and attract a younger clientele.
The hotel is situated in a narrow street typical of the Emilia-Romagna area, with a wide façade and in close proximity to the façade opposite. This condition suggested that the articulation of the façade and the carving of its new identity into the fabric of the existing building would be a successful means of connecting the hotel to the street and would be a first important step in the design process.
Ron Arad Associates approached David Atkinson Lighting Design (DALD) as they felt this unique hotel needed a sympathetic approach to the overall lighting design both internally and externally.
The existing façade is wrapped in a new skin of bronze which meanders its way inside the building forming the back wall of the bar and terminating in the profile of a bench seat. In this way the interior and the street are connected. DALD’s biggest influence in lighting the bronze was to choose a sympathetic warm colour temperature. Externally buried iGuzzini Linealuce fitted with xenon lamps and MR16 fixtures graze the external facade and create a synergy between the exterior and interior.
The bar itself is a large island with fjord-like scoops routed out of it for the patrons to eat and drink at. The bar top is formed in bronze and its sides are finished in polished stainless steel, creating distorted reflections which highlight the activity in the bar.
One of the biggest challenges with the lighting of the bar area was not to interfere with the bronze skin. The solution was to step recessed MR16 down lights around the large polished stainless steel columns within the space. DALD wanted to enhance the ceiling by positioning recessed up lighters into the entrance wall and a run of sleeved T5 fluorescents to the rear of the bar.
To create some interactivity within the bar serving area large buried compact fluorescents up light the staff and throw shadows across the bronze ceiling.
The entrance to the hotel is through giant red pin-ball-flipper-like doors framing the view to the reception desk which becomes the focal point of the hotel. Square buried fittings with opalescent glass create a soft diffuse quality within the entrance with hints of warmth from recessed MR16 down lights which bounce light off the red doors.
The reception desk takes the form of a tapering stainless steel ring dramatically leaning at an angle against a polished steel column, which appears to float off the floor through the use of recessed LED’s. Shelves are imbedded into the ring expressing the horizontal topography and fitted with various lengths of red Encapsulite ‘Stick Lights’. The wall behind is formed using a series of aluminium fins allowing natural daylight to flood the space and enabling a filtered view into the office behind. By night it is lit by gimballed MR16 down lights fitted with dark blue filters. With Ron Arad wanting the reception to be a dramatic focal point, DALD recessed LED RGB colour change fixtures into the walls of the space, which reflect subtle hues of colour off the polished desk and white ceiling.
The lower ground area of the hotel consists of male and female bathrooms, which have a strong contrast to the rest of the hotel. Back lit opalescent glass walls, mirrors, stainless steel and solid black paint finishes help to add a diffuse quality.
Each floor of the hotel is colour coded. Custom designed Viabizzuno high output T5 light slots are set within the corridor walls. Each light slot is internally painted in the appropriate floor colour and locally dimmed back through a Dynalite control sytem. To add contrast to the soft ambient light cast by the T5’s each of the colour coded bedroom doors are tightly lit by frameless MR16 fixtures.
The hotel bedrooms are uniquely designed in such a way that individually designed Corian® bathroom pods form the backdrop to the sleeping area. Each pod is a wet room with a teak slatted timber floor and has a large circular glazed window which lets natural light into the space, the exterior of which forms the bed head. RAA and DALD wanted to minimise the amount of fixtures within each bed pod. The main sources of light in the bedrooms is from twin T5 wall mounted fixtures and frameless MR16’s. To help reinforce the colour coding Encapsulite fluorescents are positioned underneath the bed and desk area. Task lighting to the bed is from Custom designed Viabizzuno LED goose neck fittings. The bathroom is illuminated by fibre optics recessed into the Corian® wall around the recessed mirror, frameless IP rated down lights and an internally lit shower.
Each bed pod has localised lighting control which has pre set scenes and can be adjusted by the guest if required.
All the lighting and control for the hotel was chosen after extensive trials between RAA, DALD and the end user client.
Through the careful choice of lighting fixture types and the different effects of light on the various finishes the lighting works harmoniously with this unconventional and dynamically designed hotel Duomo.


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