Monday, 29 July 2013

Gio Ponti, Hotel Parco dei Principi, Sorrento, Italy

I have just returned from 5 days in Italy, the Amalfi coast, Sorrento - what a wonderful place!  My daughter and I stayed at La Residencia, at the back of the iconic Hotel Parco dei Principi, Sorrento.  Ok, I'll confess my ignorance at the fact I hadn't hear of the architect Gio Ponti, the principle designer and architect of this iconic gem, clinging to the cliff above Sorrento bay - but I am making up for it now.  What a beautiful post war gem this hotel is!

The hotel is perched on the edge of the cliff, a sparkling white  elegant hotel, with it's pared down simple design, is a modern design jewel.  The simplicity of the colour scheme; white and blue, through out - tiles, furniture, pebble detail on the reception desk, lift openings, floors and reception rooms - is dogmatically strict.   The hotel was built in the grounds of the 1792 villa Siracusa.  In 1961, Roberto Fernades commissioned Ponti to design a hotel atop the ruins of a 19th century English Gothic castle but keep the wonderful verdant landscaped gardens, with its grotto, temple to love and picturesque bridges

 The stylish, still modern feeling, interior is full of wonderful design details.  Ponti not only designed the building but collaborated with other artisan designers of the time to create wonderful multi functional furniture (with Ico Parisi), delicious iridescence ceramic panels and the 'pebble' detail on the reception desk, lift and hall ways (with Fausto Melotti).  Each floor and room has the most wonderful geometric blue and white designed ceramic floor.  You cannot fail to appreciate the wholeness of the design, the rigour of the concept and the technical brilliance of it's execution. 

I shall be investigating these designers further.  Not only was the hotel an architectural and interior design feast, but the whole Pompeii, Herculaneum visit an over dose of colour and archeological wonder - but that is for another blog post.