Inspiration from Roma - Elizabeth Unique Hotel

As architects in Charleston, we are students of history successfully meeting modernity and seek out those moments when homage is paid to historic structures with meaningful renovations for current day functions. During a recent visit to Rome, we found ourselves in one such transformation at the Palazzo Pulieri Ginetti - the Elizabeth Unique Hotel. An ancient palazzo, lush and thoughtful interiors by Studio Marincola Architects, art curated by the nearby Russo Art Gallery - it’s a wonder we ever left. The architects, interior designers, artists and craftspeople involved with this hotel design struck the perfect balance of honoring the historic vessel it inhabits while offering an environment that is somehow bold and restrained at the same time; the details were as powerful as the overarching effect. Bravo, we will be learning from this one for a long time.

Entry lobby. Artist:  Enrico Benetta

Entry lobby. Artist: Enrico Benetta

Monumental stair design was perfection: carrara marble, lighted gold handrails with dark wood guards. Sculpture:  Enrico Benetta

Monumental stair design was perfection: carrara marble, lighted gold handrails with dark wood guards. Sculpture: Enrico Benetta

Manuel Felisi’s  collage anchors the stair landing. [If you know the lighting designer / manufacturer for the light fixtures, please let us know.]

Manuel Felisi’s collage anchors the stair landing. [If you know the lighting designer / manufacturer for the light fixtures, please let us know.]

Edited entry into the room, neutral colors, arches are introduced with gold accents.

Edited entry into the room, neutral colors, arches are introduced with gold accents.

Old meets new: vintage black and white sceneries printed on wall covering adds a nostalgic layer but the execution and composition is quite contemporary.

Old meets new: vintage black and white sceneries printed on wall covering adds a nostalgic layer but the execution and composition is quite contemporary.

Probably the best color of blue we have ever seen was introduced on the wall separating the sleeping area from the utilities. You can see the gold accents better here.

Probably the best color of blue we have ever seen was introduced on the wall separating the sleeping area from the utilities. You can see the gold accents better here.

Giorgio Tentolini’s  wire net artworks. This person is a genius.

Giorgio Tentolini’s wire net artworks. This person is a genius.

“Dandelion” by Enrico Benetta

“Dandelion” by Enrico Benetta

Firefly Sunset Resort + Hope 4 Hope Town

Several years ago, we had the privilege of meeting the Irvin family and helping with the renovation of their resort in the Bahamas. Their vision and hard work created a special place in a place that was already special, Abacos. This week, Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 storm, devastated the area including lives lost, generational impact and destruction. Our hearts are heavy and we feel helpless short of spreading the word on how to help. See the links below for information about the island, resort and fundraising platforms to help.

Hope 4 Hope Town Go Fund Me

Firefly Sunset Resort Website

Firefly Sunset Resort Blog (updated information)

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Sketches from Roma

“Traveling - it leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller.” Battuta

Professor Rodriguez did a very comprehensive job teaching our History of Architecture classes at Virginia Tech back in the day, but nothing compares to standing in front of or inside these architectural giants and studying by drawing. Here are some of the rough travel sketches, mostly exploring scale, form and massing, from our recent trip to Rome.

Our favorite view within the Piazza Del Popolo is of the (seamingly) twin churches Santa Maria di Montesano (left, 1662-75) and Santa Maria dei Miracoli (right, 1675-79) with the ancient Egyptian obelisk centered and Via del Corso starting between the churches.

Our favorite view within the Piazza Del Popolo is of the (seamingly) twin churches Santa Maria di Montesano (left, 1662-75) and Santa Maria dei Miracoli (right, 1675-79) with the ancient Egyptian obelisk centered and Via del Corso starting between the churches.

Closer view of the Santa Maria di Montesano in the Piazza del Popolo; not shown is the Italian street performer next to me singing ‘Sweet Dreams’ by the Eurythmics.

Closer view of the Santa Maria di Montesano in the Piazza del Popolo; not shown is the Italian street performer next to me singing ‘Sweet Dreams’ by the Eurythmics.

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There is a church every turn you make in Rome. San Giacomo in Augusta was next to our hotel and after walking past it for days, we finally peeked in…speechless. Decided to draw the floor plan to convey the mass, construction and robustness.

There is a church every turn you make in Rome. San Giacomo in Augusta was next to our hotel and after walking past it for days, we finally peeked in…speechless. Decided to draw the floor plan to convey the mass, construction and robustness.

Interior of Santa Sabina on Aventine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. This sketch was rushed and does not come close to conveying the scale and reverence of this space. May need to sketch this one again.

Interior of Santa Sabina on Aventine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. This sketch was rushed and does not come close to conveying the scale and reverence of this space. May need to sketch this one again.

This gives you an idea of scale of Santa Sabina, if the door was this big.

This gives you an idea of scale of Santa Sabina, if the door was this big.

The Ponte dei Quattro Capi bridge is from 62 BC.

The Ponte dei Quattro Capi bridge is from 62 BC.

Historic architecture and fabric was the main focus, but finding Richard Meier’s modern  Ara Pacis Museum  was a highlight.

Historic architecture and fabric was the main focus, but finding Richard Meier’s modern Ara Pacis Museum was a highlight.