Founders: Hadar Ben Dov, Golan Tambor
Architecture: Bar Orian Architects
Interior design: Yael Siso
Furnishings & Lighting: Baxter, Bonaldo, Cassina, Kristalia, Linie Design, Minotti, Molteni, Moooi, Moroso, Nanimarquina, Paola Lenti, Saba Italia
Photo credits: Sivan Askayo, Amit Geron
The Levee opened in March 2019 in the picturesque Neve Tzedeck district in Tel Aviv, suggesting an alternative – though intuitive – hospitality concept. Some call it a boutique hotel, others a ‘Home-tel.’ For the owner, no category exists yet to which to assign these “high-end, full-service apartments.” A curious twist, in terms of innovations, is that the new formula is ushered in by one of the buildings constructed on the first plots purchased by the Zionist pioneer families, on the still sandy soil of what was later to become Tel Aviv.
Built on two levels in 1913 in the Eclectic style, with large windows, shutters and railings, the Gurvetich House became a hybrid in the new century with an ultra-modern extension by Bar Orian Architects. This was not just an aesthetic decision, but also one ideologically in line with the spirit of the times and the formal freedoms granted by architecture: three levels have been added to the carefully restored building, two of them set back from the central one covered by a metal structure, and a back wing that contains other rooms, gardens and outdoor spaces.
What makes the difference between a rental flat and a true home, however, is the sophisticated range of finishes and comforts, ranging from the 24-hour concierge service to bedding in Egyptian cotton. The eight apartments, of variable size and decor – though invariably impeccable – all have high ceilings and lots of natural light thanks to large full-height windows placed around the attic.
The interior design has been entrusted to the Belgian-Israeli Yael Siso, who following the composite paradigm of the exterior has combined an industrial atmosphere with a refined aesthetic, enhanced by modernist pieces and icons of Made in Italy. The walls and ceilings have been stripped, the concrete surfaces reveals as a tribute to the original framework of the building. At certain points it is even possible to see traces of fragments of seashells captured in the century-old concrete, a sign of the presence of sand from the Israeli coast in the construction material.
If the industrial spirit embodies the dynamic past of Tel Aviv, the modern finishes, the warm wood of the floors, the contemporary furnishings, marble, velvet and minimalist lighting that accentuates the spatial geometries, all celebrate the present of a city that never ages.