Flavio Martella, Filippo Lorenzi
Lighthouses are monuments of vision: they suggest guidance and orientation. As catalysts of their context, they act as centers of multiple networks and reference point for different dynamics.
The project has been developed in order to insert and find a place in this system for the new form.
The hotel, both in the composition and the functional aspects, indicates stability and a sense of orientation within its formal simplicity.
The long and central distribution spine highlights its horizontal axiality. The ascensional dynamic of the lighthouse is counterbalanced by the settled horizontal stage that interacts within its immediate surroundings and harmoniously coexists with the horizontal infinity of sea and sky.
It monumentally emerges from the context.
The linear design of the project guarantees the existence of its locus: the protected area of Plemmirio. It acts as a barrier against the informal built environment that is spreading out from the city of Siracuse. Architecture assumes the role of defining a stronger identity. Underlining and emphasizing its limits, the space achieves a clear meaning and its general status is recognized by all.
As the lighthouse marks the transition between the known and the unknown world, the walls of the intervention stresses out the difference between what is before the wall, what is after, and what is in- between.
Limiting is an act of being.
The new settlement of the project truly defines the surroundings, and its order is expressed both outward and inward.
The apparent opposition between nature and manmade architectural forms is solved with the organic integration of the project’s scale with its spread environment of masses and pure elements: a metaphysical approach.
This broad vision leads us to guarantee, at the same time, a rigid and regular sequence of spaces.
The outcome of the project is favored by a rhythmic plan that never decreases to a simple repetition but succeed in enhancing the potentials of each space.
Solidly anchored on compact masses of rocks, the project seems to define a univocal spatial order.
The man and the lighthouse: a lonesome and solitary relationship.
The hotel is designed with this image in mind. Each space of the project is still an intrinsically integrated part of a meaningful, all-encompassing order but, at the same time, it can appear as one single metaphysical setting.
The guest of the hotel is intended as a hermit.
The pureness of the spaces, the regular composition, the limited connection to the elements of nature intensify the effect of the surprising, the unexpected, the captivating.
Isolation is an attitude towards the appreciation of the mythical Sicilian soil and its majestic mediterrean atmosphere.
Who influences you graphically?
One of the influences that affected our work the most was the Edward Hopper’s ability to represent atmospheres through a compositions of space and light as part of the architectural experience, emphasizing the feeling of separation and contrast between inside and outside as two different worlds.
Another important influence was De Chirico with his metaphysical abstraction of places and his infinite perspective. Moreover, fictional form of representation of contemporary architecture as FALA Atelier or OFFICE KGDVS works influenced us for their way of creating the atmosphere of the places through the dissolution of a realistic image in a sequence of detailed elements in space.
What was the effect and purpose of the one point central perspective?
The idea of creating all the images with a central perspective recalls a cinematic fascination. We wanted to describe the spaces as if they were the result of a filmic sequence, where the space was regularly marked, and allowed the observer to focus more on the internal atmospheres that were created. In fact, the presentation of images from always different perspectives, often divert attention to the care of the spaces and the project, ending up giving a sometimes superficial impression of the project. Furthermore, since our project was born trying to architectonically accomodate this will to be perceived as a sequence of atmospheres, it would have lost its strength if it had been described in another way.
Could you discuss the geometrisation of the floor plane? Was a link to superstudio intended? If so why?
In reality, the inspiration from Supersudio is weak. Despite the geometrization of the flooring could be misleading, this was used simply to allow a spatiality of the places, identifying the perspective limits and dimensions. In general, in fact, the project’s architecture does not reflect the principles of the Florentine office, as it seeks a formal composition between multiple archetypes and needs, instead of a provocative formal construction. Rather than a continuous monument, it is a discontinuous architecture. Its internal sequence also reinforces the concept of discontinuity of the project, and its desire to create, only through the use of dividing walls, completely different realities, in which the visitor is continuously immersed, creating in a single building a totality of the Mediterranean experience. We are operating with fragments. If we can say so, a more fitting reference could be that to “Exodus” by Koolhaas, but in any case it would be only a more graphic than conceptual fascination here.
Could you walk us through your work process? What role did the images play in the development of the project? How and to what extent was one the product of the other?
The idea of the project was to create a hotel that, being at the peak of a cliff in Siracusa, was made up of a sequence of Mediterranean atmospheres. The images were therefore the vehicle to try to convey these sensations, and to define the spaces according to their functions. The images in this project are both the principle and the end, because the geometry of the building is so simple that it loses importance with respect to the atmosphere. Plans therefore help to understand the project as a whole, but they do not effectively describe the reason for this configuration. On the contrary, the images are both the genesis of the idea and its most typical characterization.
What defined the various view points for the perspective views? What were the key elements you wanted to convey?
The images were produced from the visitor’s point of view, as if for the first time he entered the hotel. In this way the description of the places happens hand in hand with the emotional fascination that we thought we could have in such an architecture. Being a linear and modular project, they all have the same point of view and therefore reinforce the idea of sequence.
What is your take on the architectural montage? What defined the choice and composition of fragments within your images?
Being a project for a hotel, we wantes the holiday, the happiness but also the tranquility. This is why the protagonists of Hopper’s paintings have proved to be effective expressive vehicles, albeit extrapolated from their context. The process and the selection of the particular figures, however, varied from room to room, as the atmospheres varied. This is why the protagonist of Moonrise or the intimate models of Armani are present too. In addition to human figures, objects in every room play a fundamental role, as do the finishes. These, together with the characters, return the atmosphere of each place, enhancing the expressiveness of architecture. We used photos and paintings with complete compositional freedom, since, once extrapolated from their original context, they then had to merge into our primarily architectural context, creating an image of formal discontinuity that was also mirrored by the variety of figures in it.