Boutique Design - October 2017 - 32
process of restoring the splendor of two historic buildings that were totally
in ruins and their transformation into an astonishing design hotel," says
Room Mate Hotels president and founder Kike Sarasola of the company's
new Istanbul hotel. "Keeping the frescoes and the façade intact was a must."
For hotels like Room Mate Emir, Istanbul, it was the painstaking
craftsmanship involved in restoring historic frescoes at the property that
was the passion project moment for Lázaro Rosa-Violán, founder of his
The next step is slightly counterintuitive: taking all of that information
gleaned from the local cultural and architectural scene and leaving much
of it on the cutting-room floor. That kind of curation is vital to both the
efficacy of the design and the outside focus of modern urban stays. "We
found that by limiting the amount of information we delivered through the
design about the local neighborhood, we could create more visual interest,"
So, quirky pieces in Shanahan's design such as a white silhouette of
Benjamin Franklin or a giant green key that becomes an art piece in the
bathroom work more like Easter Eggs in a video game than museum pieces.
For Rosa-Violán, the melding of East and West was a starting point, but he's
not taking it too literally. Warm woods and geometric pieces in the guest
rooms offer a general reference to both, but a varied palette of color and
materials, including pink and bright yellow seating and intricately-installed
wood accent walls, means those allusions don't become too literal.
So, what has to happen to create focal points throughout the hotel
without obvious local accents? For projects like these, the emphasis is as
much on wayfinding as it is on creating Instagram moments. Designers
need to invite guests to circulate through the hotel with the same freedom
they'd have in the city outside.
"Exploring is essential to us, so we want to make the guests curious about
the space, as a way of drawing their attention through it," says Rosa-Violán.
boutiquedesign.com october 2017
4 The floor in a
Room Mate Emir
corridor isn't just
a piece of offbeat
fun. The spiral
echoes the lines of
Room mate Hotels
lÁzaRo Rosa-ViolÁn estudio
5 There's a lot going
on in an Emir
suite, but simple
vivid tones and an
COURTESY OF ROOM MATE HOTEL S (EMIR, SAR ASOL A); COURTESY OF L Á Z ARO ROSA-VIOL ÁN ESTUDIO (ROSA-VIOL ÁN)