Interview with architects Antonio Chitterio and Patricia Viel: about the Russian soul and the culture of Italian hospitality in the Moscow residential project Bvlgari

27 January 2021
Interview with architects Antonio Chitterio and Patricia Viel: about the Russian soul and the culture of Italian hospitality in the Moscow residential project Bvlgari
Very soon Moscow will see the grand opening of a hotel and residences by BVLGARI Hotel & Residences in the very heart of it.
In this interview, the Co-founders of the legendary ACPV architecture firm to AD give their vision on the Russian mentality, talk how Italian approach and BVLGARI culture found their reflection in the Moscow project and explain how to describe modern design in 3 words

—Antonio, Patricia, you have been working on BVLGARI Hotels & Resort’s design for more than 20 years. Have there been any brand changes by today?

Patricia: Through years of BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts being on the market, the brand has created their successful formula of hospitality that reflects in every aspect of their services. Besides, the brand feels good with changes in guest’s desires and expectations and at the same time is faithful/true to their principles/traditions. The great challenge for us in 2020 was the public awareness of health security caused by the pandemic and though the guest’s health security was the core of the BVLGARI Hospitality, now this aspect will be inspected even more precisely. This year has affected our plans greatly that’s why today more than ever before we want more options for activity, more space and even more lavish hospitality, the same time seeking grateful sense of quiet and seclusion — exactly what the brand values.

— It is really interesting to know more about the concept of security from the perspective of hospitality. Antonio, in one of your interviews you said that while your visit in Moscow, you were struck by three-meter fences, with which the residents surround their residential complexes. Then you connected it with the concept of protection of the Russian mentality. Today, many years later, you still observe this cultural code, and if so, was this feature reflected in the BVLGARI Hotel & Residences Moscow project?

Antonio: Privacy and the possession of private space are still very important to the Russian mentality. As Patricia has said, in 2020 the desire/necessity for their own «fortress» (preferably spacious) has increased. And it won’t be alleged statement if I say that each residence of the BVLGARI Hotel & Residences Moscow satisfies this necessity: residents have access to open spaces, such as terraces and patios, where they can lounge and relax, feeling safe, but not captivated. Thus, the feeling of privacy of residential and townhouses’ terraces is achieved by vertical gardening: fences are decorated with flowerpots with decorative shrubs, which will hide the life of residents from prying eyes. Besides, the residents will have access to cozy and beautiful courtyards that in appearance resemble secret gardens.


— As we know BVLGARI is very sensitive about the history, according to that, does the proximity of the Kremlin influence the concept of the BVLGARI Hotel & Residences Moscow?

Patricia: I would say that the close proximity to the Moscow State Conservatory. P.I. Tchaikovsky influenced the project more than the Kremlin and the Red Square. The historical facades of the conservatory building and the classical music that we can enjoy just passing by, as well as the alleys of the old Moscow with young musicians, artists, artists — all this creates a unique creative environment here. The Russian traditions and the love for challenging music is what really inspired us during the development of the project.

— The project BVLGARI Hotel and Residences Moscow is a redevelopment of the building that has a rich history. Please share with us the secrets of your work with the architecture of the Moscow project.

Patricia: The BVLGARI Hotel & Residences Moscow construction plan consists of reconstruction of 2 historical buildings, which were a part of the L.K. Razumovsky’s mansion in 18 century. Therefore, our primary goal was delicate façade renovation from the Bolshoy Nikitskaya Street side; we were determined to save the original architectural style of the buildings. The inner courtyard a la Italian Palazzo has become a great addition and connecting architectural element between two buildings. We also combine history with modernism and created underground space with SPA, gym and swimming pool, including parking and other leisure facilities for future residents and guests of the BVLGARI hotel.

— In one of your interviews you mentioned about 3 important aspects of interior design: space, emotion and light. The place, whatever it is — a kitchen, a dining room or a bathroom, should convey a certain emotion. What emotions do you think the project in Moscow will evoke in its residents?

Antonio: I would call it the feeling of possession of something unique and distinctive, as the project spreads intimate and private atmosphere, besides, in Moscow it’s unparalleled to other projects. As if only the residents of the complex have a secret key to the residences hidden from stranger’s eyes.

— Patricia, please tell us more about the interiors that you and your team created for BVLGARI Hotel & Residences Moscow. Do they have any design differences with the projects that you’ve done before for the brand BVLGARI in other cities? All in all, there are 6 of them, right?

Patricia: Though the design of the residencies is seized with elegance and luxury that characterize BVLGARI as a brand, the building’s historical background and its location — severe and cold Russian weather — defined interior designs of the residences. From the perspective of colour and texture we chose nice, warm and rich materials: coarse silk — for bedroom walls, marble — for bathrooms and toilets, bronze colours in kitchens, wood and leather. The colour palette of the materials is a little bit brighter in comparison with interiors of other BVLGARI projects, but it doesn’t contradict with the brand aesthetic principles.

— Each residence in the Moscow project offers interior finishing with partial furnishing. Could you provide us with more details? Do you have a fixed set of standard furniture items or each item is created especially for a particular project?

Antonio: No, we don’t use ready-to-go ideas, every kitchen desk, panel and wardrobe is designed individually for each residence according with its layout and area, finishing materials and other peculiarities, such as a view of the residence. That’s why Moscow residences are unique and not similar to other projects and at the same time all interiors of the BVLGARI Hotel & Residences Moscow complex are stick to one style that reflects the spirit of the brand.

Antonio: Yes, location, climate and local style of life always have their influence. For example, Rome is always full of light. The abundance of bright colours allows to play with contrast between light and dark colour palettes. Moscow, on the contrary, is lacking in sunlight and we had to keep this in mind while integrating light colours in the design.

— In one of your interviews you confessed that at that moment you hadn’t decided what part of a piece of furniture was important: the material it’s made of or its design. Do you have an answer today?

Antonio: I think there is no the right answer, but I know for sure what is important in furniture, regardless of what it is made of, — the quality of execution. This is what determines the value of a product and is also the main measure of the BVLGARI brand in all aspects: quality of construction, finishing and service... Everything should be upscale.

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