Tommaso Ziffer on the design of Hotel de la Ville

Food & Drink, Wellness, Culture

We sat down with Tommaso to learn more about Hotel de la Ville’s exceptional design, and what inspired the hotel’s spectacular new look.

It must be difficult preserving a sense of place. How did this manifest itself at Hotel de la Ville?

“Hotel de la Ville is housed in an incredible 18th-century Roman palazzo, so it was crucial to me that the design honour the building’s original features and heritage. This was done through the use of lavish Italian fabrics, rich tapestries and historical details. In Da Sistina Bistro, you’ll find an assortment of Renaissance-inspired busts and statues, set against luxurious jewel-toned velvet sofas reminiscent of old Italian palazzos. The striking black and white floor tiles throughout hark back to the neoclassicism that emerged during the mid-18th century.”

How did you settle on the Grand Tour theme for Hotel de la Ville?

“Rome was a major destination for gentlemen undertaking a Grand Tour of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, with many journeying here to study the culture, fashion, food and architecture. Hotel de la Ville’s design and décor is intended to reflect the objects and art which these aristocratic travellers would have collected during their trip.”

How did you go about incorporating the theme into the design? And are there recurring motifs that guests can pick up on?

“We wanted to incorporate the Grand Tour theme but from a contemporary perspective. In order to do this, we focused on using a bold combination of precious materials, opulent furnishings and unique decorative items in order to create an atmosphere that is both vibrant and timeless. Look out for the imposing marble sarcophagus that is waiting to greet guests at the concierge desk.

Grand Tourists would hang prints on the wall to showcase the art they had collected on their journey. This is recreated in the hotel lounge, where scenes of Roman antiquity are digitally reproduced and exhibited across the walls. Digital prints are also used to reproduce designs of old micro-mosaic jewellery, a typical souvenir brought home by Grand Tourists.”

You must have had a lot of fun sourcing Italian artisanal products. How and where did you start?

“We had a lot of fun with this! We collaborated with many Italian artisans to give the hotel a true sense of identity. Fornace Sugaroni, a company that has produced handmade terracotta since 1865, made the floor tiles. Each piece was handmade according to traditional methods, and the black and white terracotta pigment has been created exclusively for Hotel De La Ville.”

Which touches are you particularly proud of?

“I’m really proud of the work we have done with local craftsmen to include design elements that experiment with new technologies. I love the digital printing techniques and laser cuttings that can be seen on wallpaper, glass and trellis throughout the hotel, as well as tapestries and wall decorations. For me it really encapsulates the essence of Hotel de la Ville—a hotel with a historic Roman heart and a contemporary spirit.”

To book your stay at Hotel de la Ville, email reservations.delaville@roccofortehotels.com or call +39 06 32 888 880.

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