The Excelsior Hotel Gallia building, spread over an entire lot, is once again the protagonist and an integral part of the magnificent Piazza Duca D’Aosta, dominated by the Central Station, one of the world’s most imposing and spectacular railway stations.
The new Excelsior Hotel Gallia is one of the most cutting-edge “accommodation machines” in the world; designed to offer guests the most efficient multimedia technologies, the most dynamic, spectacular light installations and the most versatile spaces for fairs, meetings, congresses and exhibitions.
Following its almost hundred-years-old tradition, Excelsior Hotel Gallia has been designed to hold really different events linked to the most exclusive art, customs and sports events.
Excelsior Hotel Gallia interior spaces and environments are magnificent, yet fluid. Each special area is marked and linked to the others through a Monumental Portals system made of black glass, metal and light.
Only the central staircase has been preserved from prior distribution of space, renovated and made monumental by a spectacular, 30-metre high Murano glass chandelier: a cascade of 180 light cylinders illuminating the eight floors of this historical staircase.
Guests, like “players” on a stage, can move freely along the over one-hundred-metres long internal Promenade, admiring window displays with the most exclusive international fashion brands, as well as stay in the quiet, relaxing spaces of the Cigar Room or the Library, to read books and newspapers or for private conversations, surrounded by art ornaments designed specifically for this surprising Hotel.
Along with the elegant Ground floor Restaurant and Bar environments, connected directly to the surrounding Piazza, the Hotel and external guests can reach the magical 6th and 7th floor areas by hyper-speed, back-illuminated quartz lifts to find one of Europe’s most exclusive SPAs, with a panoramic swimming pool.
Still on the 7th Floor, the Terrace Bar, with a breathtaking view over the underlying Piazza, and Milan’s most exclusive restaurant, connect to the Multi-function Room with its rollaway armchairs, located under the historical building’s Central Cupola, now a huge crystal room coated with 586 prisms of mirror-finished alucobon.
From now on, and for the future, Excelsior Hotel Gallia will be the First Sight of Milan for those arriving in the City, in particular during EXPO 2015: a Breathtaking Sight.
The project involved a new functional structure for the building where the entire ground floor, both historical and new parts, is a vast extension of Piazza Duca D’Aosta; with a monumental entrance hall at the heart of the historical building, the Wine Cellar (on the basement floor), Lounge, Library, Cigar Room, Bar, Restaurant and La Scala, historical venue dedicated to banquets and Meetings.
An internal “Promenade” almost 100 metres long, enriched with small “boutique windows”, connects the historical wing’s common spaces with the new building’s Grand Hall, entirely dedicated to meetings and congresses on its ground floor.
The Congress Centre’s glass-covered atrium gives hotel and external guests direct access to the spectacular 7th floor (Bar, Destination Restaurant, Spa and exclusive event space) by super fast lifts.
For choice and use of materials, the historical building was treated by emphasising all its monumental aspects, adding modern details without affecting its historical importance.
Marco Piva started by studying the original materials and surfaces and used a number of strong references from 1930s Milan architecture: the La Scala Theatre, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, villa Necchi Campiglio, Milanese courtyards.
This led, for example, to use a considerable amount of mirroring materials, like the brown antique marble, creating a “black lake” that brings the1930s atmosphere back to life in a modern key.
The new wing recalls the dynamism of the capital of design and fashion, business and finance, the Milan Stock Exchange, with its clean shapes, light colours and modern materials such as glass and light, ethereal, luminous steel.
Choice and use of materials was fundamental for narrating spaces. For example, to highlight passing through golden portals giving rhythm to architectural passages to give guests the sensation they are crossing important passages, not just functional but almost landmark gates: from a modern to a historical building.
The most intimate venues, like the cigar room and library, were designed exclusively, as private clubs, with silk-screened glass and memories of the Milanese Liberty and Art Deco periods; from material details narrating culture and history (by thick, chamfered, reflecting and silk-screen printed glass) to traditional parquet emphasising calm, relaxing moments thanks to a soft flooring made modern by metal inserts.
The Cigar Room features the special artwork called “No Fire”: a wooden sculpture carved from a centuries-old elm tree trunk, divided into irregular sections and suspended on a metal base.
All the conference areas have been laid out to house several functions: highly flexible spaces (using mobile walls to reconfigure them based on user needs) characterised by metal inserts, a series of somewhat special geometrical features and unusual shapes.
Restaurant and breakfast room (Sala Gallia): the entire restaurant and breakfast room floor is made from an external marble frame, while the interior is made from parallel, wooden staves.
Wainscoting shapes and geometry still inspired by the 1930s, slightly angular, a more modern reinterpretation of neoclassicism.
Bar: the predominant colour of this area, designed to have a “lounge” part with stools and another with armchairs, more for a business meeting, is white. A decided contrast to the overlooking restaurant where the colour is mainly black. The curved wall has the same wainscoting and curtains as the restaurant, while the rest is Reflex painted glass. The back of the bar counter is all in leather.
Wine cellar: the cellar recalls the traditional one, its history and warmth. Glass is used to display and narrate spaces. Care is taken over the Italian wine culture, for exclusive clients, with great attention to guests. For example, with a private wine cellar for the most demanding clients.