Italian architecture firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel has completed the architecture and interior design of the newly opened Bulgari Resort in Dubai, resembling a traditional seaside village in southern Italy.
The 1.4m square foot property is located on the seahorse-shaped Jumeirah Bay island, connected by a 300m bridge to the city’s centre.
In addition to the resort, the development also includes six residential buildings of 173 sea-facing apartments, 15 private mansions, a beach club, and the brand’s first Marina and Yacht Club.
A coral texture characterises the two main buildings of the hotel. Created on the overlay of horizontal lines, the building facade is defined by coral-like brise soleils (sunscreens) or matte white lacquered steel parapets. In addition to serving their function in providing shade from the hot sun, the sunscreens also reference shading techniques in the Middle East.
While some aspects of the project aim to block the sun, others such as the light colour palette and large glass windows utilise natural daylight.
The interior surfaces of the resort are clad in fine oak wood, featuring long thin planks, that recall the deck of a ship.
The overall merges inspiration from southern Italy and Roman architecture with elements and colour palette of the desert landscape in the Middle East.
The use of limestone across the project is reminiscent of the golden sand of the desert, as well as the architecture typologies found in the south of Italy. Lava stone and basalt paving create a contrast between public and private spaces, treated as an “inner urban environment”.
Throughout the property, a repeated use of ‘Maglia Pantheon’ mesh patterns are used as a nod to the ornamentation on the floor of the Roman Pantheon, a classic example of Baroque Rome, featuring an intricate bronze lattice-work. Bulgari’s eight-point star motif, inspired by the Campidoglio floor in Rome, is used in the lobby of the resort- a familiar emblem of the brand.
The ‘Maglia Pantheon’ pattern is echoed in other places across the project including the light fixtures, the space divider screen in the lobby, as well as as backdrop and table divider in the Il Ristorante restaurant.
Marble is used extensively across the design, with the architects and artisans on the project hand-selecting singular marble slabs at quarries from various parts of the world.
The external walls of the resort are made from Arabescato marble from the Italian city of Carrara. The lobby features Breccia medicea while Calacatta Voila is used across the La Galleria floors.
Other types of marble from Mongolia and Brazil are used in the public area floors of the resort as well as the walls of the boardroom.
In the spa, the reception desk is made of Green Onyx from Iran cut with a ‘book matched’ technique that allows a near mirror image of its veins. The material is also featured in the hamman walls, alongside Aphyon marble from Turkey.
The villas, with walls made of limestone from India, also feature private pools made of rare Green Sukabumi stone from Indonesia.
The residences are defined by overlapping wooden terraces that continue the patterns of the facade and are interspersed with large glazed sliding doors.
The landscaping includes a selection of native and imported plants including palms, olive and lemon trees, rosemary bushes and flowers.
The resort itself includes 101 hotel rooms and suites and 20 hotel villas, furnished with Italian luxury brands such as Maxalto, Flos, Flexform, and B&B Italia, in an effort to express the ‘Made in Italy’ quality of the hotel and its design. All rooms and suites include large balconies and floor-length windows that overlook the sea and Dubai’s skyline.