MILAN – All the creative luminaries and industry leaders of the global design world are gathering for the annual event that will set worldwide trends and establish the big players for the year. Milan Design Week is almost here – and as part of the programme of exciting shows and exhibitions, St-W is kicking off its 20th anniversary celebrations with a literal breath of fresh air from designer Sabine Marcelis at Room Mate Hotel Giulia.
In conjunction with the MINDS: Reshaping Hospitality speaker series organized by St-W at the hotel from 4 to 6 April, Marcelis has transformed the lobby of Room Mate Giulia into an open space for relaxation and contemplation to be enjoyed by Milan Design Week visitors and locals alike.
Known for her elegant use of neon and her minimalist aesthetic (see main title image), the designer sweeps away the clutter of heavy indoor furnishings, and stylizes the beauty of Italian nature until it is refined enough to be invited inside by Marcelis and her partner Bloc Studios. ‘We want to keep the lobby as “empty” as possible,’ says Marcelis. ‘The goal is not to add something in terms of objects, but to add “air” and “space”.’
The lobby interior before its transformation by Marcelis
A first taste of the Lobby installation
In her installation, Marcelis applies a palette of natural-stone monochrome and the dark green of verdant foliage. Cool marble slabs supplied by Bloc Studios hang from the walls, set against a single stripe or arc of neon to reflect the light off their polished surfaces. At the same time, a selection of lights, marble vases and other marble objects are arranged to one side of the lobby.
The range of natural marble textures
A piece of the installation coming together
To contrast the smooth stone, Marcelis has also filled the space with fresh, luxurious greenery – ‘but it’s not like flower arrangements,’ exclaims Marcelis. ‘I want to create a sense of openness with only greens and monochrome, which makes a statement in contrast to the current super-colourful décor.’ The space provides visitors and guests with a fresh, cool area to relax away from the heat and crowds of Milan Design Week.
To complete the immersive experience, has composed an original soundscape especially for the installation. ‘The soundscape is structured in three scenes,’ says CEO Diego Santin, ‘each one inspired by the artworks of Sabine Marcelis and highlighting their peculiarities.’
Titled Three Skins, the soundscape takes its notes from the music of nature – field recordings from some of the most beautiful places in Italy provide a continuous background to the three scenes. These include the mountains close to Lake Maggiore, recorded in both clear weather and rain; sounds from the lakes and rivers of Varese, as well as from the urban parks in the city of Milan – places where natural and artificial realities coexist. These recordings have been mixed and synthesized in harmony with the defined and smooth surfaces of the installation, says Santin. ‘The soundscape evokes the urban landscape and its natural surroundings.’
Curated by St-W, the Lobby installation by Sabine Marcelis with Bloc Studios and Theorem Production will be open for all to visit 24 hours a day from 4-9 April 2017.