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Quintessentially Milanese

Elegant, stylish, sometimes modern, sometimes classical, often surprising: these epithets apply equally to the city of Milan and to the new lobby of the well-established Milan Hilton. You can take an architect's word for it!
Author
Elena Pasoli
Architect
THDP Studio
Surfaces
REX
Year of completion
2016

The Milan Hilton inaugurated its new hall and lobby bar with a grandiose party packed with celebrities. Located only a few yards from the city’s central railway station, the hotel serves the business and tourist communities. On top of its 300 luxuriously comfortable rooms, the hotel now boasts a glamourous reception area that satisfies all the requirements of the Hilton Worldwide lobby concept. In fact, the new hall sets new standards for the “good reception” rules established by the giant hotel chain a few years ago. The refurbishment project behind the prestigious new lobby even reached the final selection for the 2016 SBID International Design Awards in the Public Spaces category.
The architects’ studio responsible was THDP, an innovative Anglo-Italian studio with a flair for luxury hotel environments. The studio’s partners, Nicholas Hickson e Manuela Mannino explain: “We drew inspiration for this job from Italian design traditions, but borrowed ideas from some of the world’s top architects and from the world of fashion to create architecture with a high design content. Guests enter a space that is both formal and welcoming, just as they would walk into the porticos or the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery on their way around Milan. The new lobby is a place where you can chill out and relax, a home from home, but it’s cosmopolitan and rich in variety too. You could call it stylishly contemporary or honestly chic. The mood ranges from theatrical to surprising.”
The design of the hall creates a superbly welcoming atmosphere, with comfortable arm chairs for long waits and an innovative front desk designed to make checking in less formal. The wall behind the desk is strikingly finished in special, vintage look, metallic paint created with a mix of recycled metal powders.
The choice of materials and finishes deserves special mention. Everything was selected to express the spirit of the hotel and its Italian design heritage: elegance combines with functionality. Alongside the sophisticated, soft-touch fabrics is a striking floor covered in Wood Essence porcelain tiles from Cerim that combine the look of untreated wood with the unrivalled functionality of ceramics. The bar counter is also conspicuously finished in 30×40 cm Concrete porcelain tiles, this time from the Visions collection of Ceramica Rex, in a warm, natural colour.
The unmistakably Italian style of the airy, multi-functional lounge is particularly striking, from the Lobby Bar, open from morning till night, to the Concept 45 Food & Beverage area with its rotating menu for all moments of the day. Sliding partitions reveal or conceal the appliances used by staff, while seating of different kinds and heights, all specially designed by THDP (as indeed are the carpets), welcome guests for moments of leisure and informal meetings. Everything revolves around a large central chimney that can be seen from anywhere in the lobby while homely-looking shelves and bookcases around the walls are rendered even more reassuring by framed photographs and familiar ornaments.

Tiles
Visions by Rex + Wood Essence (Cerim)
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
modulo trapezio 30X40
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,08%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA, UA, UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 140
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Certifications and awards
ECOLABEL
LEED
NF UPEC
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