Room Mate Giulia, the new “design hotel” by Patricia Urquiola
The Room Mate Giulia Hotel opened in Milan early in 2016, behind the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery and only a stone’s throw from Piazza del Duomo. It is Milan’s first hotel owned by the young but rapidly expanding Spanish Room Mate chain. Perhaps for the first time in its short history, Room Mate decided to create a hotel with high design content. The project was therefore entrusted to Patricia Urquiola (assisted by Frederik Dewachter and Alberto Artesani). Urquiola has strong links to Spain, her native country, and to Milan, where she studied under Achille Castiglioni and where her own studio has been based since 2001.
The budding Room Mate chain is managed by partners Enrique Sarasola, Carlos Marrero, Eduardo Sanzol and Gorka Atorrasagasti. The brand has taken very little time to achieve an international dimension: starting from its base on the Iberian Peninsula where it owns twelve hotels (in Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca, Malaga and Granada), Room Mate has opened four hotels elsewhere in Europe (one in Amsterdam, to be joined later this year by another in the dynamic Dutch city of Rotterdam, two in Florence and this one in Milan). The chain operates another six hotels around the world (in New York, Miami Beach, Mexico City and Istanbul).
Commercial strategy targets younger guests who want central, attractive, modern, design-oriented but accessibly priced accommodation. Room Mate has adopted a friendly approach on its website and has developed a marketing strategy that is primarily internet based. Even the names of the hotels, like Emir, Pau, Isabella and Aitana, are chosen to convey a sense of familiarity and trustworthiness – just like a room mate.
The Giulia project gave a 19th century Milanese building a new lease of life. The hotel’s refined rooms maintain some of the most typical elements of Milanese architecture (like pink marble floors and the curved wall in terracotta brick that welcomes guests to the lobby). The rooms themselves are inspired by the everyday life of Milan, a city that has written a large chapter in the history of design. The hotel’s modern-vintage character is enhanced by graphic art and all 85 rooms and common areas feature different designs. Colours range from shades of pink to green, blue and terracotta. Furnishings come from the vast offering of local designers. Hotel services include a spa, a relaxation area and a fitness centre.
Porcelain tiles from Ceramica Vogue’s Trasparenze collection proved the ideal complement to the different room designs. Glossy, 10×10 cm tiles were chosen to cover all bathroom surfaces. These identical tiles, in ice grey and powder pink, are personalised by contrasting grout that matches each room’s colour scheme and creates a striking “same but different” effect.
Ceramica Vogue, Trasparenze
TR Ghiaccio e TR Cipria (custom)
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 1,5
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB min
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >40
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant