Owner & Hotel operator: NH Hotel Group
Architecture & Interior design: Christian LefËvre, Claire Fatosme, Teresa Sapey
Furnishings: B&B Italia, Gufram, MDF Italia, Moroso, Pedrali, Zanotta
Lighting: Casamania&Horm, Flos, Luceplan, Vibia
Photo credits: David Giancatarina, NHHG
Marseille is a lively ethnic and social melting pot, whose cultural character has been set by the symbiosis of the port, the Mediterranean and their connections. A favorite noir location invigorated by salty breezes, bright sunlight and the mistral, the city is packed with sensations of a turbulent spirit that finds balance in the reconciliation of opposites. Looking to the sea but also to the future, with an urban metamorphosis that has revolutionized (and salvaged) prospects with futuristic architectural interventions, thanks to the appointment as European Cultural Capital in 2013 and a complex regeneration program launched in the mid-1990s to bring more order and appeal to neglected neighborhoods and the port area.
On the waterfront of the panoramic Corniche the nhow Marseille stands out, operating under the aegis of NH Hotel Group since 2017 and recently updated with a ‘participatory’ renovation project involving the Marseille-based architect Claire Fatosme and Christian Lefèvre, the Italian architect residing in Madrid Teresa Sapey, and some local visual artists. The result is an experimental and experiential tourism structure that makes creative use precisely of the contrasts of the French city, in order to convey order and a libertarian spirit, light and shade, earth and sea, through a contemporary architectural language.
The Marseille duo have designed the 150 guestrooms, 9 suites and nhow penthouse of 130 square meters on two levels, as well as the corridors decorated with images that reproduce the street graffiti of the city, reinterpreted by the graphic designer from Marseille Guy Bargin, graphic elements by the designer Adrien Bargin, and visual animations by the local artist Tristan Bonnemain.
Claire Fatosme and Christian Levèfre have also focused on the refurbishing of the hall, the glass belvedere on the second floor and the Sky Bar, located on the third floor near the hotel entrance and conceived to become a reference point for the world of mixology. The Mediterranean spirit is revealed here by means of 4000 steel sardines, arrayed in the air in sparkling schools, like silvery eddies that form a theatrical lamp made for Sciabetti by the English artist Frances Bromley.
Teresa Sapey has worked on the design of the communal areas on the ground floor: the Cactus Bar, suggesting an exotic garden of the Mediterranean coast, the restaurant, terrace, spa, spaces for meetings and events, and the iconic Tunnel Bar, the link between the fresh water of the Roucas Blanc spring – inside the building – and the salt water of the sea, to stroll through amidst the shifting depths of various tones of blue, and the dynamic warmth of furnishings in yellow, orange and pink.