The Duomo Hotel, located in the center of Rimini (one of Italy’s historic seaside resort towns), has remained unchanged for many years. That is, until 2003, when Ron Arad Associates were asked to redesign the hotel as a way to address the changing demand in the area and attract a younger clientele.

Ron Arad Associates approached David Atkinson Lighting Design (DALD) as they felt the hotel needed a sympathetic approach to the overall lighting design both internally and externally of this unique hotel.

The existing façade is wrapped in a new bronze skin that meanders its way inside the building, forming the back wall of the. DALD’s biggest influence in lighting the bronze was with a warm color palette. Externally buried iGuzzini Linealuce fitted with xenon lamps and MR16 fixtures outside the hotel create a synergy between the exterior and interior.

The bar is a large island with fjord-like scoops routed out of it for the patrons to eat and drink. The bar top is formed in bronze and its sides are finished in mirror polished stainless steel, creating distorted reflections which highlight the activity in the bar.

One of the biggest challenges with the lighting of the bar area was not to interfere with the bronze skin. The solution was to step recessed MR16 down lights around the large polished stainless steel columns within the space. DALD wanted to help excentuate the ceiling by positioning recessed uplighters into the entrance wall and a run of sleeved T5 fluorescents to the rear of the bar.

To create some interactivity within the bar serving area, large buried compact fluorescents uplight the staff and throw shadows across the bonze ceiling.

The entrance to the hotel is through giant red pin-ball-flipper-like doors framing the view to the reception desk, becoming the focal point of the hotel. Square buried fittings of opalescent glass create a soft diffuse quality within the entrance with hints of warmth from recessed MR16 down lights that bounce light off the red doors.

The reception desk takes the form of a tapering stainless steel ring dramatically leaning at an angle against a polished steel column, which appears to float off the floor through the use of recessed LEDs. Shelves are imbedded into the ring expressing the horizontal topography and fitted with various lengths of red Encapulite Stick Lights. The wall behind is formed using a series of aluminium fins, allowing natural daylight to flood the space and enabling a filtered view into the office behind, and by night is lit by gimballed MR16 down lights fitted with dark blue filters. With Ron Arad wanting the reception to be a dramatic focal point to the hotel, DALD recessed LED RGB color changing fixtures into the walls of the space to reflect subtle hues of color off the polished desk and white ceiling.

The lower ground area consists of bathrooms with backlit opalescent glass walls, mirrors, stainless steel, and solid black paint finishes to add a diffused quality.

Each floor of the hotel is color-coded. Custom designed Viabizzuno high output T5 light slots are set within the corridor walls. Each light slot is internally painted in the appropriate floor color and locally dimmed back through a Dyanlite control sytem. To add contrast to the soft ambient light cast by the T5s, each of the color-coded bedroom doors are tightly lit by frameless MR16 fixtures.

The hotel bedrooms are uniquely designed in such a way that individually designed Corian® bathroom pods form the backdrop to the sleeping area. Each pod is a “wet” room with a teak slatted timber floor and has a large circular glazed window that lets natural light into the space. RAA and DALD wanted to minimize the amount of fixtures within each bed pod so the main sources of light in the bedrooms is from twin T5 wall mounted fixtures and frameless MR16s. To help reinforce the color-coding, Encapsulite fluorescents are positioned underneath the bed and desk areas. Task lighting to the bed is from Custom designed Viabizzuno LED goose-neck fittings. The bathroom is illuminated by fibre optics recessed into the Corian® wall around the recessed mirror, frameless IP rated down lights, and an internally lit shower.

Each bed pod has localized lighting control which has pre-set scenes and can be adjusted by the guest if required

All the lighting and control for the hotel was chosen after extensive trials between RAA, DALD and the client.

Hotel Duomo won two categories at the SLEEP 06 European Hotel Design Awards:

Winner of Hotel Design Bar & Restaurant

Winner of Hotel Design Lobby & Public Areas

Design Team – Ron Arad Associates: Ron Arad, Julian Gilhespie, Geoff Crowther, James Foster, Asa Bruno, Taishi Kanemura

Executive Architects: Pierandrei Associati (Milan)

Consultants: David Atkinson Lighting Design (DALD), Milco Fregnan (Structure), Andrea Raggini (Mechanical), Studio Elettoprogetti – Luciano Gaia & Daniele Cenni (Electrical)

Lighting Suppliers: Delta Light, DGA, Dynalite, Encapsulite, Viabizzuno, iGuzzini, Universal Fibre Optic, AC Lighting, Simes, Ilti Luce