Like its sister hotel, Palazzina G in Venice, G-Rough celebrates history and place. Set in a tall and narrow, five-story, 17th century building – in Piazza Navona not far from Sant’Agnese church, this design hotel is a satisfying look into the real Rome.
In collaboration with architect Giorgia Cerulli, Emanuele Garosci and Gabriele Salini have created a ten-suite hotel that preserves 400 years of architectural history and at the same time presents to its visitors a contemporary Rome.
Cerulli has incorporated as much of the building’s original features as possible. Old paint and raw materials are left exposed on walls – literally revealing the layers of history embedded in the property, and wooden roofs and elaborate parquet floors reflect the Rome that once was. Perhaps the most endearing feature of the building’s age is the original Latin inscription on the facade: “SATIS AMPLA QVAE SECVRITATE RIDEAT” (meaning “big enough to give a feeling of security”).
While a definite reminder of where it has come from, G-Rough also speaks to the present. The bare walls and high oak beam ceilings of the past contrast with iconic furniture and contemporary art, reflecting the city’s continual flux and cultural development. Each of the five floors pay homage to a different Italian designer from the 1930s to the 1970s, including Ico Parisi, Giò Ponti, Guglielmo Ulrich and Aristide Seguso, and a changing display of art works from emerging Italian artists fill the walls.
In aesthetic terms, the hotel is described as ‘rough-luxury’ – a new kind of Italian luxury characterised by distressed plaster walls and mid-century Italian design. But the design far transcends being superficial; its sentiment is genuine and firmly rooted in place. “We’re presenting a very Italian sense of luxury,” says entrepreneur Gabriele Salini, “one with history, design, art, and a touch of whimsy.”
To combine original features, classic Italian design and contemporary art might sound ambitious, even confused. But here the designers have struck a meticulously crafted balance between celebrating a rich history and acknowledging an exciting present. G-Rough is eclectic but consistent in its design, playful yet grounded. And it rejoices in all that is the city of Rome; its past tied to its present, and its continual evolution of a strong culture of art and design.