MILAN – International hospitality chain Room Mate Hotels opens its 22nd and perhaps most enviable location yet in a renovated late 19th-century building just across from the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Room Mate is renowned for giving each of its hotels a mascot persona of sorts, a friend who cares for you and shows you around. In Milan, your companion is Giulia. A scenographer at the city’s Teatro alla Scala, she’s described as ‘curious, meticulous and exciting’.
Patricia Urquiola was asked to do the hotel interiors. Although the Spanish architect and designer was given complete creative freedom by the client, she did her utmost to connect with both the ‘Giulia’ identity and the city of Milan, where she has run her highly successful studio since 2001. Her efforts are immediately apparent in the lobby, whose floor features the same pink marble used in the nearby Duomo, an interesting coincidence given the predominance of pink in other Urquiola designs. Walls in the lobby draw influences from the grey terrazzo and terracotta brick of local architecture. A curved element near the lifts boasts a crisscross pattern with a striking tridimensional effect, a subtle nod to the brick towers of the city’s Sforza Castle. Other prominent geometric patterns allude to Milan’s traditional rationalist aesthetic. One of the more prevalent, a dashed grid motif, acknowledges the importance of the graphic arts in Milanese cultural heritage.
Consistent with Room Mate Hotels’ promise to offer visitors a ‘home’ rather than simply a place to spend the night, Room Mate Giulia’s 85 guest suites reference domestic interiors common in this part of the world, often nostalgically. Although rooms fall into five categories, which range from ‘standard’ to ‘penthouse with terrace’, they all share a scheme based on the aforementioned grid motif in alternation with muted, solid colours. The dynamic contrast lends an air of animation to walls, ceiling and decorative accents. All furnishings are bespoke products supplied by the contract division of Italian brand Cassina, and works of art are exclusively of Milanese origin. Additional amenities at Room Mate Giulia include a spa, a sauna and a gym.