International architectural studio Atellior, Croatia
The Design of Top Hotels and Residences created by Atellior in their offices in London and Zagreb
Innovativeness in the hotel business is not something we normally see very often. This used to be a traditional, conservative sector, the concept of which had not changed for decades, and hotels were mostly understood as dormitories, while hotel restaurants and bars were often half-empty and gyms were used only by sports fanatics. Fortunately, this state of play was turned upside-down by a new generation of managers and guests who care less about the form and more about the content. They are looking for contact with the local culture and gastronomy, seeking out different activities and new acquaintances, and new technologies in particular have allowed them to combine business and pleasure wherever their job or quest for fun take them. This has created a new playground for investors, developers, hotel operators and hotel designers, whose final touch is necessary for an idea to be able to conquer the market.
A perfect example of an innovative hotel product is the SIRO Boka Place, currently in development in the Bay of Kotor within Porto Montenegro, opening in 2023. This project is being developed by Adriatic Marinas in cooperation with the hotel company Kerzner. Kerzner is the founder of such luxury brands as One&Only, Atlantis Resorts and Residences, and Magazan Beach & Golf Resort, and is among the leading innovators in this industry. The design is the responsibility of the international architectural bureau Atellior, a team of creative people that offer solutions to the leading global hotel chains all over Europe from their offices in Zagreb and London.
“Just as during the pandemic there was no major drop in the number of newly constructed hotels, in spite of some expectations, the general direction of hotel design remained the same as did the modern and innovative concept of hotel amenities that had developed before the crisis. The new projects initiated during the pandemic are pursuing the trend of hotel lobbies opening up for guests to mingle, of shared tables for meetings and socialising, of borders being erased between hotel amenities and functions such as the reception desk, the restaurant and the bar. The pandemic did not impact the development of lifestyle neighbourhood hotels, and the only thing that may stick around after the epidemic ends could be the introduction of unique hygienic and security measures and the further automatization of the processes, reducing the contact between staff and guests, such as the digital check-in”, state the architects and designers Una Barac and Ante Marić, the directors of Atellior, a bureau that in less than five years since its founding has overseen a string of preeminent projects for the global chains in its portfolio. Their references include facilities in development or already existing ones under the brands of Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental Hotel Group, Park Plaza, Carlson Rezidor, and Accor.
Their current projects are in development in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Serbia, and they are also behind the design of certain leading hotel projects in Croatia, including Boutique Hotel Ikador, Sheraton, Le Meridien and many more.
The company was founded in 2017 by Una Barac, a London-based architect and Ante Marić from Zagreb, who felt that it made perfect sense to open offices in both cities. After less than five years, they are now ranked among the top 10 architectural bureaus in Croatia, and are the leading Croatian bureau according to the number of references from globally renowned projects in tourism, which are developed by almost 40 people operating across both locations.
“Even though we have many references in Croatia and the region, London is the international hub for designers and business, and our London office gives us the broadness we require for international development”, explains Ante Marić.
Atellior’s creatives have been developing the design of the new Kerzner brand SIRO Hotels for the past two years. SIRO Boka Place, with 96 rooms and hotel suites, together with 213 apartments, will be launched in Porto Montenegro in late 2023.
“This is a brand dedicated to fitness and health, recovery, bodily and metal wellbeing, with a unique concept intended for professional and recreational athletes and all those who wish to dedicate themselves to regeneration and feeling better. Even though it is located at the seaside, this is not a beach facility, meaning that it will rather resemble a town hotel and will have many amenities that reflect the brand’s philosophy, including a serious gym and pool. The name SIRO is an acronym for four notions representing four pillars – strength, inclusion, reflection, and originality. These are essentially the cornerstones on which we have built our design over the previous two years, basically from scratch”, the Atellior directors explain.
Adriatic Marinas hired them to develop the interior design for the SIRO hotel rooms, suites, private apartments, and public spaces. The designers tell us that the first step in any process, and this one was no exception, is to agree on a fundamental conceptual approach with the client, which serves as the basis for the further development of design.
Every new project starts with a blank canvas, without copying previous designs. In the case of Boka Place, a new vibrant urban neighbourhood is being developed in Porto Montenegro, which will include mixed-purpose facilities (from hotels to apartments), erasing the borders between hospitality, fitness, and wellness.
The guests will have at their disposal a team of in-house experts, including trainers and nutritionists, while the fitness club will have a gym, an area for yoga and meditation, an outdoor swimming pool and sports courts, and a Recovery Lab will be opened with different spa and wellness treatments for regeneration.
As Philippe Zuber, the CEO of Kerzner, explained while announcing the new brand, SIRO will create a collective global community of peers living a high-performance lifestyle, who are passionate about striving to attain and realize their full potential.
As for Atellior’s task, the design process is currently being finalised, following many stages and meetings held in order to harmonise the ideas of the designers with the demands of Kerzner’s design office and of the brand owner. The design of the hotel room, for example, reiterates the main motifs of SIRO’s philosophy through the use of Swedish ladders; regeneration can be achieved thanks to the supreme selection of beds and mattresses; the showers are of utmost importance, and the holistic approach to health is also reflected in the lamps that imitate daylight.
One of the most prominent of Atellior’s recent projects, Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa, is a 5-star luxury hotel, located right next to the Opatija Riviera promenade, connecting Ika and Ičići. In designing the interior, the intention was to evoke the historical spirit of the golden age of tourism in Opatija in a modern reinterpretation.
The chosen colour palette is a combination of deep blue and green shades, which reference the Mediterranean landscape, with warm hues inspired by the sunlight-created effects. The selection of furniture and light fixtures gives a sense of timeless and yet contemporary hotel design. The hotel also includes a specifically designed conference area that offers a unique environment for the organisation of business meetings.
The hotel complex also features an exclusive Presidential villa, which additionally accentuates the luxury in the design of all its details. The inspiration for the design came from canonical examples of contemporary architecture, and is visible in details such as the Verde Alpi marble as a dedication to the Barcelona pavilion by Mies van der Rohe.
The Atellior team was also in charge of the design of the interior of Residence Inn by Marriott in the Northern Quarter in the centre of Manchester. This is the first Marriott-branded building for extended stays in the north of the country, and the project included the redesign of the existing building into an aparthotel. Atellior designed the spatial organisation of 155 rooms for guests and all the public spaces, the reception desk and the lobby, the lounge zone, the restaurant and the yard. They were inspired by the history of Manchester and the Victorian heritage of the neighbourhood, meaning that elements of the industrial revolution were reinterpreted in a fresh and contemporary fashion. In this project, Atellior closely cooperated with artistic consultants in the careful selection of artworks for the rooms and public areas, the purpose of which was to reflect the history of the Northern Quarter and portray the liveliness of Manchester.
One particularly interesting project for Atellior’s designers was the renovation of the Hotel Park Plaza Utrecht in 2017, for the 100th anniversary of neoplasticism, the Dutch artistic movement that emerged around De Stijl, which was founded by Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg. These artists expressed their utopian ideals of spiritual harmony and order through complete abstraction and universal design, achieved with the use of basic forms and colours. The visual compositions were reduced to horizontals and verticals and the use of the primary colour palette.
In this project, the client wanted to facilitate the often-exhausting experience of business trips, by creating a space that allows for relaxing work from the comfort of your home. The design of the ground floor was inspired by Theo van Doesburg’s painting Composition I (Still Life), meaning that they used neutral colours and warm grey in combination with yellow accents. As for the interior details, black metal construction was used everywhere, coupled with oak veneer, natural stone worktops, and brass details. Luxurious materials were applied as accents to the places with the most significant impact. Tailor-made furniture designed by Atellior was produced by artisanal carpenters for the rooms and public spaces. The design allowed this hotel to tell the story of its unique locality.
Atellior’s designers also had the opportunity to develop solutions for the first Marriott in Lithuania, opened in 2018, as part of the new complex in the centre of Vilnius, where the Žalgiris Stadium used to be. The 199-room hotel has a modern a la carte restaurant and a relaxing bar with a beautiful balcony overlooking the citadel and six gorgeous meeting rooms. Atellior’s task was to apply the Courtyard by Marriott standards, pushing the borders of design and style. The recognisable hotel exterior with sharp, slanted lines and black glass facades is facing the old town and is an astonishing expression of both the old and the new. They designed a completely free and flexible lobby which creates at once a relaxing and a business-like atmosphere. The interior of the hotel public space reflects the building’s exterior, copying the exterior façade lines that the designers incorporated in the interior elements. The usage of materials such as geometrically shaped steel and concrete, with appropriate lighting, complements the accentuated light yellow and sophisticated blue they used in the interiors of the lobby and the salon. In this project, they closely cooperated with the leading Lithuanian lighting designer Marius Mateika and designed remarkable lighting that represents himmeli, the traditional Baltic holiday decoration made from straw.
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Atellior, Radnička cesta 39, 10 000,