Having fallen out of favor as a once popular and glamorous Italian seaside resort, Rimini, located 62 miles east of Bologna, Italy, is experiencing a resurgence of popularity. To address this newfound demand for the area and attract a younger clientele, property owner Pierpaolo Bernardi hired Ron Arad Associates to transform his 1950's building into a designer boutique destination named the DuoMo Hotel. David Atkinson Lighting Design (DALD) was charged with creating a lighting scheme that would harmonize with the multi-faceted space, without detracting from its architectural splendor.

Architectural and Lighting Solution
The building's new identity begins on the outside, carved into the fabric of the existing four-story facade. Newly wrapped in a bronze skin, the exterior is illuminated by low-voltage in-ground 50W MR16 uplights on each side of the entrance and low-voltage in-ground 160W xenon strips. DALD principal David Atkinson chose to lamp the fixtures with xenon and MR16 sources for their warm color temperature, which accentuates the warmth of the reflective metal surface.

The use of bronze continues inside as well, to the bar--named noMi--located to the left of the entrance off the main hallway that leads to the reception area. Creating a synergy with the hotel's exterior, the expanse of bronze metal, which is applied to the bartop, and also forms a continuous wrap from the ceiling to the back-wall profile of a bench seat, proved quite a challenge to illuminate, especially because, as Atkinson says, "The Ron Arad team didn't want to see a single fixture in the ceiling." The solution: recessed MR16 downlights positioned around the bar's polished-stainless-steel columns. Concealed luminaires, including uplights in the entrance wall and a run of sleeved T5 fluorescents at the rear wall, enhance the ceiling. To eliminate dark voids around the amoeba-shaped bartop, Atkinson recessed a limited number of frosted circular LED fixtures into the floor. To highlight the activity within the bar serving area, he employed recessed 26W compact fluorescent uplights, 11 inches in diameter, to illuminate the staff, thereby throwing shadows across the bronze ceiling.

The hotel's piece de resistance is Arad's signature reception desk--a stainless-steel ring that leans dramatically against a polished-stainless-steel column. Shelves embedded within the ring are fitted with various lengths of sleeved fluorescents to create an internal glow, but the reception area's main source of color comes from six, flush-mounted, color-changing LED fixtures recessed into the wall opposite, which reflect subtle hues of color off the polished surface of the ring and the white ceiling of the entire reception area.

During the day, a slatted wall behind the reception desk--formed by a series of aluminum fins, which is backlit during the evening with low-voltage fixtures with yellow dichroic filters--allows daylight to flood the reception area and provides a screened view into the office behind. As in the bar, low-voltage downlights surround the polished-stainless-steel columns for added general illumination.

Because the guestrooms had to be functional, clean, and airy, a minimalist aesthetic with few visible fixtures was favored. In the sleeping area, twin T5 fluorescent wall-mounted fixtures and low-voltage frameless downlights with frosted filters are the primary sources of illumination, which Atkinson "bounced off the walls for a very diffuse soft quality of reflected light." To reinforce the hotel's color-coding system, which delineates the different floors, and to bring the corresponding hues (lime green, magenta, purple, and red) into each room, sleeved fluorescents are concealed underneath the desk and bed to wash the floor in colored light.

Individually designed Corian bathroom pods in each guestroom form the backdrop to the sleeping area, which are visually connected via a large circular window. Frosted, frameless 50W downlights are also used in this glass-enclosed space, which functions as a wet room with a teak slatted timber floor. Fiber optics were placed in the Corian around the mirror to act as a vanity light, which, Atkinson explains, "also help to alleviate heavy shadows and accentuates the curvature and recessed aspect of the mirror."

In a hotel where so many elements demand attention, DALD, through its careful choice of luminaires and effects of light on multiple and diverse finishes, has created a lighting scheme that works harmoniously with this dynamically designed hotel.


project | DuoMo Hotel, Rimini, Italy
design team | Ron Arad Associates, London (project architect); Pierandrei Associati, Milan (executive architect); David Atkinson Lighting Design, Surrey, England (lighting designer); Milco Fregnan, Rimini, Italy (structural engineer); Andrea Raggini, Rimini, Italy (mechanical engineer); Studio Elettoprogetti, Rimini, Italy (electrical engineer)
photographer | Alberto Ferrero, Milan
project size | 8,695 square feet
watts | 19 watts per square foot
manufacturers | AC Lighting, Delta Light, DGA, Dynalite, Encapsulite, iGuzzini, Ilti Luce, Universal Fibre Optic, Simes, Viabizzuno