Architecture & Interior design: Jean Philippe Nuel Archiercture&Design
Furnishings: design Nuel, B-Line, Cinna, Collinet, Flexform, Ligne Roset, Poliform, Walter Knoll
Outdoor Furnishings: BivaQ, Expormim, Gandiablasco, Serralunga, Talenti, Vondom
Lighting: Bocci, Brokis, CVL Luminaires, Hisle, Lee Broom, Light Point, Luceplan, Oluce, Roche Bobois, Vibia
Bathrooms: Duravit, Grohe
Fabrics: Verel de Belval
Photo credits: Nicolas Matheus
The spirit survives intact, as does the mission. Making travelers feel at home is a timeless task for this historic building in Lyon, which in the Middle Ages, with the antique name of ‘God’s hotel,’ was already offering hospitality to people in need of medical care, beggars and pilgrims. Today, although the building has been converted as a Grand Hotel – the InterContinental Lyon-Hotel Dieu – its essence remains the same, fully respecting the tradition.
The impressive structure has always embodied an unusual, fascinating architectural dichotomy. With very decorative exteriors and interiors that display wealth, in contrast with sober spaces with stone floors, plaster walls and wooden ceilings. A contrast the reflects Lyon’s religious role in the past, which the designer of the renovation project, Jean-Philippe Nuel Architecture & Design, has set out to preserve at all costs. The dualism set in motion by the studio, in continuity with the existing architecture, ranges from simplicity to opulence, the monastic to the ornamental, in an almost reverential tribute to the identity of the building, while achieving contemporary results.
An empathic mixture of humility and measured luxury, a concept developed by Cécile Poignant as a new way of thinking about travel and hospitality based on the idea that it is ‘better to be than to have.’ Given the position of the building in the urban landscape, particular care has gone into reviving the relationship between the city center and its inhabitants, making a historic site closely tied to the life around it accessible to all, from the local residents to the guests. A solid bond, then, but updated with esprit de jeunesse. The renovation and new features become integral parts of all this promise, with design choices that go beyond mere aesthetics and set out to balance past and present with understatement and longevity.
Furnishings made for the occasion in collaboration with Ligne Roset, precious silks from Verel de Belval alternating with hemp fabrics under a large dome, the central hub of the hotel, featuring a bar in backlit alabaster and works by Manuela Paul-Cavallier. In the lobby, reception area and conciergerie symmetry reigns, from the floors in local Villebois stone to the beams in blanched wood, and the black wooden panels accented with gilding. The Verel de Belval silks here have been designed with the contribution of the artist Véronique de Soultrait. The guestrooms also reflect the identity, with furnishings and accessories conceived in a range of colors from blue to ochre, interacting with the hues of the stones of the architecture. In the bathrooms there are no ceramic tiles, but only stone that covers the walls like a second skin, and mosaics by local craftsmen for the shower cabins.
A liaison amoureuse, between a historical building and the designers, the site and its inhabitants, destined to last in time.