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Il Sereno Lago di Como

Alia Akkam • May 9, 2017

Photos: Il Sereno Lago di Como

Celebrities have long loved escaping to Lake Como and its princely villas ogled from vintage wooden boats. Amid the centuries-old classic structures dominating this northern Italian retreat in the foothills of the Alps, Il Sereno Lago di Como is a contemporary contrast, a 30-room hotel showcasing an understated grid-form façade that melds the beautiful landscape with interiors from Milan-based Patricia Urquiola.

Il Sereno, the latest addition to the Sereno Hotels collection—which includes the Villa Pliniana (within walking distance) and Le Sereno Hotel & Villas in St. Barts—is adjacent to the village of Torno and stretches along the lake’s eastern shore. This proximity to the water was a vivid inspiration for Urquiola, who ensured all of the commodious suites were outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows and patios that best amplified mighty views. While a palette of gray, green, and baby blue calls to mind the lake’s hypnotic hues, headboards feature digital abstractions of aquatic scenes. In the main garden, a lakefront, freshwater infinity pool, kitted out with a sun deck and bar, further underscores its ever-presence.

“I wanted to create a 360-degree architecture project, starting from the macro to the most micro,” Urquiola explains, which is why her team crafted everything (much of it from her own collections) from the furniture and rugs to the capsule-shaped bathtubs and silk scarves worn by the staff. “The aim was to create something new: a luxury hotel where people could live in an experience totally absorbed by the atmosphere, finding all the things they need to feel cocooned from the landscape to the last detail,” she adds, noting her desire to present a modern-day depiction of the feel-good Italian 1950s.

Influenced by rationalist architect Giuseppe Terragni’s circa-1936 Casa del Fascio—a stark, white cube that served as a government building in Como proper—Urquiola embraced modularity. Each suite features louvered wood panels so guests can play with the always-shifting light “affected by the interaction of water and different lines of the mountains and sky” as they see fit.
French botanical guru Patrick Blanc also fashioned several vertical gardens incorporating thousands of plant species for the exterior and entry, as well as a towering installation in the reception area patio that calls to mind the massive aerial roots of Banyan trees.

This appreciation for nature extends to Urquiola’s choice of materials, including an abundance of walnut, ceppo di gré stone, and marble. The former is at its most dramatic when stacked in a seemingly floating staircase enclosed by a net of bronze rods, leading to Ristorante Berton Al Lago, where Urquiola employed traditional Venetian terrazzo and travertine in creative ways.

Set in an old boathouse dating from several hundred years ago, the forthcoming spa will feature granite walls, a private al fresco relaxation room with a plunge pool, and a trifecta of treatment rooms that fittingly overlook the lake. “For me, the most important thing is a connection between the space and the guests,” says Urquiola. “I want to transmit a sense of home.”

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