Spatial Awareness

A Facelift Imbues a Collection of Suites on the Amalfi Coast with the Spirit of Italian gardens and the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Italian architect Cristina Celestino looked to Palazzo Avino's surroundings in the hilltop town of Ravello when reimagining seven rooms at the venerated "Pink Palace" hotel. The result is a capsule of accommodations that breathes new life into the 12th-century villa with Moorish accents, mother of pearl flourishes, and ethereal tones.

All photos by Davide-Lovatti.

Spatial Awareness is a column that hones in on a standout element of a new project deserving of a deeper look. In this edition, we train our lens on seven reimagined rooms at the Palazzo Avino in Italy’s Almafi Coast. 

Firm: Studio Cristina Celestino

Practice location: Milan

Instagram: @cristinacelestino

Project: Palazzo Avino

What was the vision for the seven-room makeover? 

I started out my research on the location of Palazzo Avino, then on Ravello and the Amalfi Coast. Specifically, the historic villas with their gardens: Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo. Even the architectural structure of Palazzo Avino, a noble residence of the 12th century, and its acquired identity in the field of luxury hotels have been the object of analysis and research.

Perched among rugged cobblestone alleys, the hotel is a pink mirage amidst terraced olive and citrus groves. Difficult to reach, it is a destination that turns out to be even more extraordinary than expected, due to the breathtaking view of the sea and the glimpses of the horizon that can be seen from the pointed openings of the façades of the building.

The concept is inspired by the wonders of Ravello’s Italian gardens and the odyssey of forgotten tales of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Details of Moorish architecture, mother-of-pearl materials, and references to flora create a harmonious mix.

What colors and materials are central to the visual identity?

We worked on three color palettes, within a single mood: aquamarine, sand, coral. The materials are the most varied, from the white terracotta floors with pink and mocha accents and the rainbow onyx in the bathrooms to the colored wood roots of the wardrobes and furniture’s craquelure ceramic tops.

There are also surfaces with a mother-of-pearl finish, mirrors with refined antiquing, and brushed brass. A very important role is entrusted to textiles; in this case, a prevalence of natural fibers such as cottons and linens, but always very refined and delicate. They include the fabric of the curtains with oversized geometries, the monochromatic headboards on the beds with an embossed effect, and carpets produced by CCtapis, which take up shades of sand, terracotta, aquamarine on backgrounds of oversized flowers and fruits from the Amalfi coast.

How does the layout flow?

Each room is separated from the other. They range from rooms with high ceilings and cross vaults to some with large pointed arch openings facing the sea. The terracotta floors from my Giardino all’Italiana collection for Fornace Brioni create a continuous “carpet” throughout the room. The color on the walls was used to emphasize the architectural features of the building such as the vaults and niches. Where possible, the beds were placed in the center of the room.

What stands out to you the most now that you’ve finished it?

The harmony of the environments in the variety of details, colors, and materials.

References of inspiration:

As with all our projects, there are no specific references: we work on many references and themes and the project always represents a synthesis of all this.

Favorite detail:

It is difficult to choose! The headboards in the embossed fabric that draws sinuous curves are very beautiful; as well as the choice of floors and walls. I also really like the bedside tables we designed with the craquelure ceramic tops.

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