"This house is not a hotel" was the warning of Gabriele Salini's mother when he was a kid. But it's also the artistic claim of G-Rough, an unconventional hospitality concept that was recently born in a 17th century building in the very heart of Rome, from an idea of Emanuele Garosci and Gabriele Salini. A hotel that joins the top quality service of a 5 star with the genuine familiarity of a home. Various creative Italian styles and different time periods coexist in an idea of experiential luxury that is not flaunted, but refined. Just as is prefigured by the original Latin decoration on the facade: "Satis ampla quae securitate rideat" (ample enough to infuse security). One of the project's creators tells us about it.
How did you come up with the idea for G-Rough?The project began a little over a year ago, also thanks to an encounter I had with my friend Emanuele Garosci, who revolutionized the hotel industry with Nhow in Milan and Palazzina G, in Venice. The union of our two visions has the common denominator of an idea of hospitality that is outside of any preconceived box: to give guests an unprecedented experience of Rome. An alchemy that guided the project from the very onset and that continues to be interpreted and guaranteed by the G-Rough team.
The inauguration of the hotel was turned into a 24 hour performance – “Art is Real” – with a final demolition party. Can you tell us about this initiative and how it ties into the concept of the hotel?We wanted to make art the connective thread of the building's transformation process, so we invited Italian and International artists such as Pietro Ruffo, Aakash Nihalani, Fiorella Rizzo, Mat Collishaw, Alessandro Piangiamore, Guendalina Salini, Nicola Pecoraro, Caterina Nelli, Emiliano Maggi, Gianni Piacentini, Antonello Viola, Gioacchino Poltrelli, Achille Filipponi, Davide D’Elia, Seboo Mingone and others. They were asked to intervene on the space and create temporary works... Narrating the landscape, evolution and creation of G-Rough. Art was put to concrete use, by finding solutions that were not just aesthetic, but practical, such as frescoed ceilings, wallpaper, cement thresholds, canvases to cover tv sets, writing and neon lights.
The demolition party took place with 5 DJ sets on 5 floors, and was organized by Nero Magazine. Our sponsor Moët & Chandon marked the beginning of phase 2: the construction site.
How does this project relate to that of Palazzina G in Venice?The "G" of G-Rough comes from the "G" of Palazzina G in Venice, which is our sister hotel. "Rough" comes from "rough luxury", the philosophy of this new project. Luxury is not flaunted, but refined in every detail, as in every piece of furniture from the 50s and 60s. Items that are "nostalgically contemporary" in the lines of their design. The pieces are in harmony but at the same time contrast with the lively painted walls, floors and original ceilings, up to the works of art that were often conceived on-site.
The common ambition Emanuele Garosci and I shared was to create something original, that had not been seen before, and is unique... like its history.
What kind of style and decor is it based on?The Italian creative style, which is able to form a dialogue between different ages. To create it we were inspired by a conservative renovation, availing ourselves of workers responsible for the restoration and maintenance of the immense artistic heritage this city and country are rich in. We selected furniture and objects from the best Italian design of the 40s up to the 60s/70s. We contacted contemporary brands such as Smeg, Seletti, Limonta and others. We involved prevalently Italian artists, in some cases asking them to work in a functional manner on the project, as if on artisanal works. It all contributes in offering an unconventional experience that speaks of the complexity of the eternal city itself.
What gems of classic Italian design did you include and how do they interact with the architectural frame and the artists involved?Each of the 10 suites has the name of an Italian designer, of which we put together a few "works": Gio (Ponti), my personal guru, Guglielmo (Ulrich), Silvio (Cavatorta), Joe (Colombo), and Tony (Zuccheri). Graphic artist Marco Raparelli designed and stylized each of these design icons onto every key holder.
We selected and put together many rare pieces from each of these maestros: tables, mirrors and a dresser by Ponti, parchment consoles, wardrobes and dressing tables by Ulrich, lights and sofas by Scarpa, a "Sputnik" lamp designed by Sarfatti...
I like the dialogue that forms between various elements and time periods, as between these furniture pieces and objects, the historical significance of the building, the contemporary character of the architectural and artistic interventions.
G-Rough also offers tours of the most inaccessible spots of Rome as well as lifestyle butlers.We offer private tours in otherwise inaccessible buildings in Rome; dinners on the most beautiful terraces with views of the city; trips to the subterranean Rome and programs for kids... All with an exceptional guide, a true art expert and an incredible narrator, my friend Filippo Cosmelli.
There's also a calendar of events, installations and performances curated by Guendalina Salini. Can you give us a preview?The presentation of book Vestiges by Achille Filipponi, curated and edited by Yard Press will be launched in the next few days. Other artists will also be called upon to intervene on the spaces that are still available, adding to the hotel's collection.
Which room is your favorite?I left a little piece of me (including a photo by Massimo Vitali, which I bought a few years ago in Paris) in the Penthouse on the 5th floor, where I lived for various years of my life. Until I decided that this house would indeed be a hotel.
Foto via g-rough.it
Interview by Fabio Falzone
© Chiara Collaro
The book Vestiges
The book Vestiges