EXCLUSIVE: Matteo Thun tells CLAD how he designed a stylish JW Marriott resort on a protected Venetian lagoon

by Kim Megson | 21 Jan 2016

The Italian interior designer and architect Matteo Thun has told CLAD about the challenges he faced in transforming a ruined collection of buildings on a Venetian island into a luxury home for the recently-opened JW Marriott Venice Resort + Spa.

Speaking in an exclusive interview in the latest edition of CLADmag, Thun revealed he was drawn to the project by the “fantastic challenge” of creating a contemporary resort while respecting the heritage of the man-made Isola delle Rose island – located on a Venetian lagoon – and its 1930s buildings.

“To design a project from masterplan to detail, from macro to micro, means you have to take a holistic approach,” he said. “This is one of the strengths of our office. For this project we had to look for new solutions while respecting nature and history.”

Thun’s innovative approach was to restore the original buildings – including a former hospital and cinema – and build new structures within them without touching the old walls.

"The pavilions have been preserved according to the ‘box in a box’ principle,” he said. “This protects their historic character as encouraged by the latest heritage conservation guidelines.

“The design across the hotel resort is focused on integrating contemporary elements within the existing buildings, rather than replacing them, in order to showcase their unique history and personality.”

All interventions were coordinated with the state authorities who protect the island, with locally-made bricks, tiles and glass used to integrate the old and the new.

“We emphasised the artisanal skills and heritage of the area. Fabrics are from the Venetian manufacturer Rubelli, bathroom fittings from Zucchetti, tables are made from the wood of the lagoon and we worked with Murano based glassmaker company Barovier + Toso to develop customised, exclusive light installations,” Thun said.

“The result is a dialogue between the historic façades and the warm and delightful atmosphere created by the interior design.”

The JW Marriott Venice Resort + Spa features 230 contemporary suites, a large rooftop terrace, an outdoor pool, four restaurants and five bars. The hospital’s former gardens have been maintained and feature an olive grove, vegetable gardens used for the resort’s restaurants, and a green belt planted with turnips which are used for soil regeneration.

MediSpa suites, a café and yoga and meditation gardens complete the resort. The spa is operated by GOCO Hospitality, with wet zone facilities by Barr + Wray.

Isola delle Rose was created in 1870 using soil and earth left over from the construction of Venice’s Santa Marta commercial port. In 1992, the island was given to the UNESCO International Center for Marine Sciences and Technology by Venice City Council; before being sold to Marriott.

Thun’s next project is a new village in Parma, Italy which will house the new headquarters and visitor facilities of hair and skincare brand Davines Group. He also told CLAD he is working on a wellness hotel in Bürgenstock, Switzerland called Waldhotel Healthy Living.

The full interview with Matteo Thun can be read in the latest edition of CLADmag, the quarterly magazine from CLAD, which has just been released and can be read on both Digital Turning Pages and as a text PDF download.

Matteo Thun  JW Marriott  Venice  resorts  design  architecture  UNESCO  
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FEATURE: Architecture – Matteo Thun

FEATURE: Architect’s focus – Matteo Thun

The Italian interior designer and architect Matteo Thun has told CLAD about the challenges he faced in transforming a ruined collection of buildings on a Venetian island into a luxury home for the recently-opened JW Marriott Venice Resort + Spa. Speaking in an exclusive interview in the latest edition of CLADmag, Thun revealed he was drawn to the project by the “fantastic challenge” of creating a contemporary resort while respecting
CLD,SAB,HHR,HOT,RST,PRO,ARC,DES,DEV,INV
JW Marriott Venice Resort + Spa opened last year / JW Marriott International
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