Hospitality and blue sea
Ing. Dario Dal Molin
The ancient Romans believed that names accurately conveyed character. If they were right, Boutique Hotel Capo Blu in Santa Margherita di Pula, Sardinia, should be a place of tranquil seaside harmony and refined hospitality. And indeed it is! Designed by the studio of architect Mario Dal Molin, the hotel is immersed in typical Mediterranean scrubland a short distance from Cala Marina bay in the province of Cagliari, and nestles in a natural cove at the feet of hills that overlook a crystal blue sea.
This part of the coastline, to the west of the island’s capital, was settled by the ancient Phoenicians and later conquered by the Romans, whose presence is witnessed by the Nora archaeological site. Today it is home to Santa Margherita, a tourist destination that began to develop in the 1960s, typified by luxury homes and hotels that blend in with the natural environment along 5 kilometres of coast. “Our client specifically asked us to develop Hotel Capo Blu from an old, disused building, the Capo Blu discotheque, a nightlife hotspot back in the 1980s and 90s”, Dal Molin explains.
The complex is finished in traditional Mediterranean style and integrates perfectly into its surroundings. It is low in appearance, with external walls in rustic white plaster and pink cotto tiles on the roof in keeping with local practice. The development extends in the open-yet-protective shape of a fan or peacock’s tail – a popular motif in handcrafted Sardinian textiles and a symbol of immortality and seduction. In its second life, the building has become a thing of beauty, especially in the rooms and spaces that lie behind the plain façade. Once past the entrance area, the main feature is a patio that acts as fulcrum for the entire complex, as in the homes of ancient Rome and in Arab architecture too. With its sea-blue pool and fountains and green vegetation, the patio is an oasis of freshness and calm. Around it are arranged twelve rooms. Two suites with panoramic terraces occupy the upper floor. These unique environments are furnished with the creations of local craftsmen, made to the architect’s specifications.
The entire project and even its tiniest details are defined by variants of the colour blue, chosen for its elegant allure and powerful symbolism. In addition to the blue of the doors and windows, an intense, iridescent, peacock-tail blue decorates the vitrified enamel lamp shades. A marine turquoise characterises the ceramic tiles on the walls of the bathrooms. In the bedrooms, the sun’s reflections on the surface of the sea are evoked by Pitrizza 10×30 cm double fired tiles from Cerasarda, in the colour “Azzurro Mare” (Sea Blue), made even more effective by a striking craquelé finish. A grey porcelain tile floor adds visual depth. The floor tiles from Cir Manifatture Ceramiche, are laid in a variety of sizes and textures, and feature the geometric patterns of traditional Sardinian textiles.
Sardinia takes its traditions seriously, as the hotel’s interior shows: you only have to look at some of the walls in hand-hewn blocks of yellow, San Giacomo granite. The suspension lamps in the bedrooms take the form of fish traps, woven rushes and hemp yarn.
The Capo Blu hotel also knows how to combine the traditional and the modern, however. The bed heads are a fine example: made from powdered Orosei stone and shaped like the petals of flowers, they create a surprising 3D effect.
Cerasarda, Pitrizza collection
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): E > 10% BlII
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): Gruppo GA-GLA-GLC
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R ≥ 15 N/mm2 - S ≥600N