Modernity in a village tradition
Gruppo Cozzi Parodi
Local or Global? Although much discussed in the architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, this thorny dilemma remains unresolved. It first presented itself, albeit with different forms and contents, towards the end of the 1920s when Rationalism began to supplant the orthodox thinking of complete respect for the surroundings. This was the time when the International Style began to spread throughout western architectural culture, overwriting existing practices as the new language of modernity. The most advanced architecture used innovative technological products supplied by the building industry, while the context in which the new buildings were located was envisioned as an historic background, as an urban setting that would highlight the new in its inexorable advance based on the extraordinary work of the great Bauhaus masters such as Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Hannes Meyer. Although today’s most advanced architecture, represented by the work of celebrity architects, tends to disregard the existing context in favour of urban objects with a strong identity, in some places where a traditional flavour serves to accentuate tourism appeal the surroundings continue to be taken into account. One such project implemented in Santo Stefano al Mare opted for a kind of low glocal (neologism combining global and local) approach. The strongly contemporary building shell incorporated a number of references to the architecture of old villages, such as the loggias reminiscent of covered passageways of Ligurian towns. And indeed just a kilometre away stands the old town centre of Santo Stefano al Mare, a typical Ligurian town with its narrow streets or «carruggi» and longstanding traditions, an uncontaminated place where the timeless beauty of the Italian Riviera has remained intact over the years. This explains the choice of Astri series tiles from Piemmegres as the floor coverings in all spaces, including the exteriors. The new complex is located in the splendid setting of the small tourist port and offers a well-equipped thalassotherapy centre with two large pools, a spa, a gym and booths for beauty treatment. The facility has 22 suites and 84 apartments, a restaurant with a large dining hall that seats 150 people, tennis courts and a sandy beach that can be reached by crossing a grassy area. Near the marina is a cycle path that runs 24 kilometres along the magnificent coast between Ospedaletti and San Lorenzo al Mare. All meticulously finished, the high-class rooms feature sophisticated furnishings and elegant interior architecture, recreating a functional ambience with rare contemporary taste. The 22 suites have large private terraces with a splendid sea view and all amenities. The apartments, likewise tastefully furnished using prestigious materials, can sleep four to five people and all have a cooking area. Aregai Marina also offers a large meeting room that can accommodate work groups of around thirty people and can host company conventions, conferences, exhibitions and training and in-service courses of all kinds. For this purpose, it has a sober and elegant conference hall with a sea view. The famous fiery sunsets of this westernmost part of the Italian Riviera offer scenes of exquisite beauty enhancing the moments of relaxation of guests in a complex that combines leisure and health treatments.