Croatian architectural firm, Studio 3LHD was entrusted with the transformation of Hotel Adriatic into a modern day luxurious masterpiece. It now serves as one of the main attractions of old town Rovinj, in Coastal Istria.
Founded in 1994, in Zagreb, Croatia, Studio 3LHD was commissioned to transform the interiors of Hotel Adriatic, a 103 year old edifice, nestled in the heart of Rovinj, Istria’s beautiful and quaint fishing port into a modern and eclectic blend of art and architecture with fantastical elements.
Artists hailing from Slovenia, Germany, France, Croatia, Italy, and Austria came together to work on the concepts Studio 3LHD devised. Designed by Lana Cavar, Ana Tomic, and Marino Krstačić-Furić, the logo of Hotel Adriatic is a classic example of the old and new. It consists of two typographies – classical and modern – drawing inspiration from fonts that were used over a century ago, when the building was constructed.
While maintaining the authentic and historical façade of the building, in due deference to the conservationists, the interiors give way to a modern, yet classical ambience that has a unique coming-together of reality and fantasy. Think fairytale.
One of the main challenges faced by the team was the constant ‘fine-tuning’ of the exhibited artworks. This is where the collaborative genius of all the artists is visible – in every piece of site-specific art. Art installations tailor-made to suit the interior site and smaller works of art dotting the spaces around work as the main features of this transformation.
The artworks displayed are by internationally renowned artists, each hand-chosen by art curator, Vanja Žanko. With over 100 artworks installed, guests are likely to have an other-worldly experience, which is what the architects were after. Croatian artist and photographer, Goran Petercol’s works that have been regarded as a reflection on the quiet stillness of Rovinj in the earlier era are displayed in the hotel.
In order to make the hotel ‘more accessible to anybody traveling to Rovinj, and not just hotel guests’, the team made the interiors more representative, by keeping the existing staircase intact. A new unconventional stairwell from the ground floor to the rooms above was designed to have the amenities accessible to public by opening towards the town square. Austrian artist, Valentin Ruhry’s works are displayed along the entire length of the old staircase, representing the spirit of the original structure.
From 15 metre high installations fluorescent lights lend a brilliant pop of colours to the spiraling stairwell – a wonderful paradigm of modern trans-disciplinary expression of art, with the notion of minimalist space juxtaposed against centuries old architecture.
The brasserie, with serene hues of the Mediterranean, is where the fairytale you imagined earlier begins to take shape. Sofija Silvia from Croatia, and Jasmina Cibic from Slovenia are credited with designing the seating area of the Brasserie and Caffe Bar. A pictographic retelling of various historical eras by Sofija Silvia blends with Jasmina Cibic’s installation of flying birds fitted against highly polished pedestals. The inspiration for this particular setup comes from the Haludovo Palace on the Island of Krk, built in 1972, but now in ruins.
Renowned Italian artist and architect, Massimo Uberti’s style is described as ‘a luminescent pencil in space’. According to him, an individual’s life needs ‘space for dreams’ and quiet reflection. This is evident in the way he has designed the hallways and verandahs; black with magnificent artistic lighting that makes the transition from dark to light.
French artist Abdelkader Benchamma and Croatian artist Igor Eškinja worked their artistic genius into the bright and spacious rooms of Hotel Adriatic. Benchamma made ‘on-the-spot creations and fitted them directly onto the walls’ rendering the room with a wistful melancholy, and a fantastical representation of the universe and its natural glory.
Eškinja produced inspiring art in his inimitable style of exploration and experimentation, making use of the long – lost photography technique Cyanotype. The result is a modern representation of 19th century references. The bathrooms have been given an ‘anti-classic’ appearance with dark mirror doors to overcome space constraints.
Croatian artist, Zlatan Vehabović’s style is a blend of modern and classical elements that stand in defiance of the technological advancements of modern times. His oil paintings line the walls of the Adriatic’s most luxurious rooms with a magnificent view of Rovinj from two balconies.
However, beyond these architectural and artsy interventions, the uniforms of the hotel staff and employees stand as true embodiments of the original concept formulated by Studio 3LHD. Designed by I-Gle Studio, from anthracite grey to white, the uniforms are of exquisite natural cotton, and reflective of modern times as well as the old heritage that the Adriatic has preserved so fiercely.
Through its concept of preserving the old, while paving the way for modern and experimental innovations, Studio 3LHD has converted Hotel Adriatic into a brilliant illustration of architectural showmanship. Alice is scouting the vicinity, Looking Glass at the ready!
Text By Priyanka Menon
Photographs Domagoj Blazevic, Dusko Vlaovic, Jure Zivkovic, Sinisa Gulic, and Sofija Silvia