INFOSProject: Refurbishment of a villa as boutique hotel
Completion date: 04/2018
Location: Rue Lepic, ABIDJAN Cocody
Architect: Paola Bagna
Area: 3500 m2
CREDITSDesign concept with: Anette K Hansen
Hospitality consultants: Areen Design & Graven
Photographer: François-Xavier Gbré
The former governor of Abidjan’s residence was remodelled by architect Paola Bagna as 4* Boutique Hotel.
The design takes its cue from the Ivory Coast villa’s mid century style and tropical surroundings to charm guests with understated yet luxurious materials and forms.
Nestled between palm trees and tropical plants, this Le Corbusier inspired diamond in the rough had retained it’s appeal despite waterproofing and conservation problems. Over three years, Paola Bagna directed a renovation of the home, transforming it into a boutique hotel of 17 rooms including reception area, restaurant, meeting rooms / event space, bar, wellness area, indoor and outdoor lounges and a swimming pool.
The hotel concept, developed with creative director Anette K Hansen, combines the comfort and style of high-end hotels found in metropolises around the world with a respect of the villa’s original architectural features. Highlighting the villa’s past and drawing on local materials would deliver unassuming luxury in a modern African environment.
The 2000m2 accommodation is split between three buildings: the Main Villa (Villa Principale), the Children’s Villa (Villa Enfants) and the Guest’s Villa (Villa Salon). The line dividing interior and flourishing garden is blurred in many areas of the hotel.
Villa Principale - The Villa now contains the reception, restaurant, bar, meeting and event spaces plus three guest suites.
Interior and exterior layout was modified to achieve optimal circulation and well proportioned spaces. The former garage was transformed the into hotel's kitchen as this location enabled easy reception of goods and waste removal.
Floors and ceiling surfaces characterize the spaces according to their use. Original Carrara and Nero Marquina marbles of some floors were restored and mixed with new Tigerskin marble and light brown Travertine. Other floor areas were tiled in fishbone or black and white chess patterns.
A colorful mosaic from the artist Anne Derian forms part of a restroom wall, together with preserved tiles from the original building. The geometries of the original plaster ceilings were reproduced. The tinted glass tables of the restaurant reflect these geometries.
Interior furniture combines custom built pieces made from local materials with hand picked African vintage furniture. More international furniture icons sit alongside pieces from contemporary African designers such as Jean Servais Somian and Abderaham Haidara.
In the Villa Principale bar, you feel like you’re both in and outside. Located on the ground floor overlooking the garden, the bar connects to the meeting/events area and terrace. Guests linger in the black and white Nero Marquina marble booths at the restaurant during the day and rendezvous at the Super White Quartzite bar at night.
Villa Enfants - Deco style balustrades lead from the Main Villa to Villa Enfants. This striking metalwork was both restored and reproduced throughout the hotel.
All 10 bedrooms in former Villa Enfants are part of the same family yet none is exactly alike. A palette of locally sourced wood, Ethiopian leather, colored velvet and black powder coated steel enhance custom made furniture and furnishings. Brass fittings are carried through to lamps, cabinet door handles, floor joints and headboards. Pastel tiles in herringbone patterns and locally made terrazzo adds context.
The gym and wellness area is placed in the footprint of the former kitchen, a naturally well ventilated space with views to the garden and new pool.
Long and slim, the pool encourages lap swimming and allows guests to cool off from the heat. Local foliage and flowering plants provide shade and decoration. The gardens have a relaxed and natural look. New grey and white patterned floorings were laid for unity and visual connection through the outdoor spaces.
Villa Salon - Unique finishes add warmth and save resources. Terrazzo made of large leftover old and new pieces of marble configures the flooring of the former Villa Salon, which now offers four bedrooms, equipped to host families or groups. A common living area is the main feature of this space. All rooms have private terraces and small patios.
Beauty was found in unexpected places of the original building, in mismatched or cracked tiles and stained or distressed wood. This aesthetic influenced the design of Villa Lepic Boutique Hotel: new design interventions highlighting the original design decisions, to bring new life to this West African architectural gem.