The Pantheon Iconic Hotel - Rome

Suspended between past and present

The project to transform an old building in Rome's city centre into the Pantheon Iconic Hotel restores and emphasises original structural elements while introducing a skilful play of architectural references to the Pantheon
Riccardo Bianchi
Studio Marco Piva
Year of completion

What does it entail to restore a building in the centre of Rome, just a short walk from Piazza Navona and surrounded by architectural masterpieces such as the Pantheon and the churches of San Luigi dei Francesi and Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza? In his project to transform a run-down building into the 79-room five-star Pantheon Iconic Hotel, Milanese architect Marco Piva adopted an approach based on historical reinterpretation, not so much of the building itself but «of the historical and architectural heritage of the ancient city of Rome and, in particular, of the geometry, light and materials of the ancient Pantheon», as he himself explains. «The hotel contains numerous references to the historical monument: the use of Red and Statuario marble, the colours of the metals which create a sense of history and recall the enormous hinges on the temple’s door, the mirrors in the bathrooms and the central lamps in the guest rooms, which are custom-designed to evoke the form of the temple’s dome, and finally the artwork, specially created objects installed in the suites and public areas to make the narrative as complete and harmonious as possible.»
The project adopted the so-called «philological approach» to restoration that aims to maintain the recognisability of the intervention while at the same time attempting to create a sort of «discontinuity with the normal frenetic pace of the city,» says the architect. It is «a calm place, to be discovered gradually as you climb up to the sixth-floor terrace designed like the deck of a ship floating above Rome and offering a breathtaking view». After stripping the building of the superfluous elements accumulated over the years, «we focused on redefining the space in the most essential way possible», Piva explains. «We discovered original architectural elements which we decided to retain and in some cases emphasise, reinterpreting them to create a connected and fluid context in harmony between past and present (…).Circular forms, arches and vaults, marble and stone, brass and bronze, which, together with a judicious use of light, are the keys to a contemporary scenographic construction project aimed at creating a sense of surprise and restoring the cultural, aesthetic and emotional identity of a location that changes throughout the day in accordance with the unique nature of the Rome light». One very important factor in creating this sense of theatricality is the LED lighting system, as can be seen for example in the metal arches of the gallery leading off from the lobby, a lighting solution that creates highly contemporary architectural effects. In this way the classicism of the architecture becomes a constant presence in the hotel and a starting point for the narration of history, which continues as one looks out of the windows and enjoys the view of ancient Rome.»
The success of the restoration project, which has created an outstanding hospitality venue befitting a city referred to as caput mundi, or «capital of the world», owes much to the furnishings, most of which were designed by Piva himself, and to the materials, almost all of which were made in Italy. «For example, we used Casa Dolce Casa (Made in Florim) tiles for the flooring on the ground and sixth floors, specifically the Stones & More 2.0 collection in the colour Sahara Noir, and for a portion of the tiling in the Gourmet Restaurant. One of the main goals of the project was to design a space that would be contemporary while conveying a feeling of magic. For this reason we opted for reflective black floors to create the illusion of floating, the sensation of a real and virtual space that mirror each other. But the decision to use the Stones & More 2.0 line was also dictated by the way the collection plays on the contrast between tradition and contemporaneity, between past and future. This fitted in perfectly with my intention to create a monumental and at the same time modern work in which the sense of elegance and luxury is expressed in the details, through the use of products of outstanding technical and aesthetic quality in keeping with the finest Italian craftsmanship. I would say that the Pantheon Iconic Hotel is a tailor-made project where the feeling of exclusivity and personalisation is comprehensive but not overwhelming. I don’t like «leaving signatures» as an end in themselves but prefer to find a balance between the client’s needs and my own style. I think the project really reflects this.»

Casa dolce casa - Casamood, Stones & More 2.0
porcelain stoneware
Sahara Noir
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,08%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA
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): 3200 N
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9; R10 (burl white, burl gray) NATURALE
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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