A renovation project in keeping with tradition
David Whitcomb (CallisonRTKL)
Immersed in the natural setting of a wooded shoreline close to Geneva Lake and the exclusive National Golf Club, the Geneva Ridge Resort has been popular amongst a well-established clientele since 1973. In keeping with the transformations that have radically transformed the concept of hospitality in recent years, the client recently chose to give the establishment a US $4.9 million facelift, which was completed in May 2016 and also involved changing the name to The Ridge Hotel. The project to convert the reception, lobby, restaurant areas, corridors and public toilets was awarded to US firm CallisonRTKL, renowned for its architectural approach focused on an immersive and connected experience in harmony with the context. The client wanted to create contemporary but tradition-conscious spaces that would attract new visitors without sacrificing the characteristics that have proved so popular amongst its loyal clientele over the years.
The project, which involved converting a ground floor characterised by an outdated spatial organisation, worn out materials and poor lighting, focused on four main aspects: spatial reorganisation through the installation of a wood wall designed to create openings and connections between the various spaces; harmonious colour combinations between materials and furnishings; an intuitive lighting design; and the choice of high-quality surface coverings.
The renovation project was very well received, winning an honourable mention in the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition 2017, the award that for the past 24 years has recognised the work of American architects who use Italian ceramic products in their projects. Indeed ceramic tile was one of the materials that made the biggest contribution to the distinctive atmosphere of the new Ridge Hotel. “We chose Italian ceramic tile as we considered it ideal for the high aesthetic quality that we wanted to achieve,” said Lori Mukoyama, vice president of the Chicago branch of CallisonRTKL. But naturally aesthetics was just one of the factors. With reference to the Italian tile manufacturers, the firm’s associate Peri Peng added: “Always at the cutting edge of design and technology, they strive constantly to innovate in terms of quality and durability.” The products were chosen for their ability to deliver high technical performance while creating emotional spaces, such as the reassuring timeworn effect of the bleached wooden planks used in the hotel foyer and accommodation areas, consisting of the In Essence collection from Provenza Ceramiche, produced using recycled materials. Chosen in the Miscela Sabbia version, it coordinates effectively with the wood wall coverings and is ideal for high-traffic areas thanks to its superior tread resistance to real wood. A wood effect also dominates in the more intimate space of the Crafted Americana restaurant where the upholstered wall panels, strips of rustic wood and graphic surface coverings coordinate harmoniously with the ebony-inspired Etic porcelain floor tiles from Atlas Concorde. An Italian ceramic tile was also chosen for the floor covering in the restaurant’s bar area, consisting of Frame Carpet Random decorative tiles from Refin Ceramiche, which blend visually with the marble countertop. Developed in collaboration with graphic designers from Studio FM Milano and inspired by traditional materials, motifs and aesthetics, they come in eight different versions which the designers chose to arrange in random sequences to create a delicately retro, old-world feel.