The absence of a hotel background has helped shape Bulgari Resorts around the world as design and architecture-led properties, said Silvio Ursini, executive vice president of Bulgari, in charge of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts worldwide.
“We don’t come from a hotel background which is a great advantage if you want to do something extraordinary because if you come from a hotel industry you will have a hotel architect and hotel furniture and hotel details,” explained Ursini.
“In our case, no. We want to craft the home of the Bulgari brand and we start from the designers. We have appointed Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel, the foremost Italian residential designers to craft our hotels from the very beginning, again keeping with consistency of our properties,” he said.
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 architects have also spearheaded all other Bulgari developments around the world, keeping with the consistency of the brand and its aesthetics and design language.
“We used rare materials which are considered very difficult in the hotel industry. We used details including furniture and fixtures that are not hotel-related furniture and fixtures: they are Italian residential and retail products. [They are] products that have taken many years to create, from prototyping to manufacturing, applying the traditions of Italian craftsmanship,” Ursini said.
“The early sketches of the building from Antonio and Patricia started off with a vision of a low rise and very thin staggered and layered floors. As Italians we don’t do blocks. We do things that try to be more interesting, have a relationship with the place,” Ursini explained.
“The way Patricia and Antonio strung the six residential buildings around the marina was inspired by a Bulgari-designed emerald necklace,” he added.
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 overall design merges inspiration from southern Italy and Roman architecture with elements and colour palette of the desert landscape in the Middle East.
“It is very dangerous to touch Middle Eastern design and heritage and culture because the risk of becoming cliché is huge and is potentially dangerous. We believe that we have approached it in a different way,” Ursini said.
“We have used a brand new coral-inspired shading to evoke the necessary shading in the Middle East in a way that is innovative. We have also used the Bulgari pattern in a different way, layering it so you have these transparencies. And we have involved craftsmen from Morocco to design the carpets.”
“The Middle Eastern inspiration was about being respectful and not cliché,” he added.