Situated in Gaziantep, on the east side of Turkey, GEO_ID’s one of a kind project HISVAHAN is the transformation of a 16th century cotton warehouse (the name stands for cotton “HISVA” house “HAN”) into a boutique hotel and is opened to visitors in 2017. While maintaining the character of the 440-year-old structure, the project consists of a series of subtle interventions ranging from preservation of the ruins dating appx. to 8th century, to solving the most intricate details of how contemporary interventions merges with local artisanships.
Surrounded by Antep Castle (Roman era), Bedesten, Elmacı and Coppersmith Bazaars (18th and 19th centuries), this typical caravanserai building used to accommodate caravan drivers, their cargos, animals and passengers providing comfort and safely. Related with Seljuk and Ottoman architecture, Hisvahan is accepted as the oldest (1577) han building and example of civil architecture in Gaziantep. After being closed for decades due to the regulations regarding heritage buildings of 1st degree, the building is finally given as a boutique hospitality function and GEO_ID is appointed for the interior design.
Design brief was clear; adding value to the region. Therefore, a great deal of attention is paid to stay true to Hishvahan’s local and ethnic context through use of traditional craftmanship, locally sourced materials and historical motifs in a modern sense.
The complex consists of 10 rooms with indoor bathrooms, a daily use space -Susamhane, and a gourmet restaurant - Develik with a bar. Courtyard has an outdoor seating arrangement made of portable elements and is used in summer days as an extension of the hotel lounge and pâtissier area.
Transparent folding screens hand carved by local carpenters provide intimacy and exclusivity. The rugs, coffee tables and lighting elements made-up of baskets are all local production from the region.
Antep is also well known with Zeugma Mosaic Museum where ruins of Roman Zeugma City (300BC) is exhibited and the ancient mosaic designs have been a source of inspiration; the patterns are re-produced in macro and micro scales on the building’s exterior as seperators, and in micro scales in porticos.
Bedrooms have monochrome natural stone flooring according to the restoration, bathrooms are separated according to the room’s layout. Bedsides and ceramic walls have patterns inspired from traditional Kundakari craftmanship and custom produced by Gorbon tiles. Traditional fabric Kutnu veawing with original red and dark blue colors form the beddings. Every accessory from door handles to mirrors and lighting fixtures are custom designed and are made of copper produced in the bazaar nearby. Cupboards are also inspired by 3-dimensional Kundekari pattern which does not exist today anymore. Forms gained power with the material.
Limitations of working in a heritage building was a challenge and is overcomed with creating space-within-space using metal meshes. Semiprivate seating arrangements are created using these metal structures in porticos and Islamic patterns are introduced at this point collaged in various scales to achieve an abstract and modern feeling. Coffee tables and puffs are again made of copper and locally produced. Commonly used objects from daily culture such as the traditional pearl tables are also used in various combinations and was made exclusively for the hotel by the local crafters
Many elements of the complex were retained, and historical ruins underground the hotel are left partially visible through glass floor panels placed on common areas. A special experience is provided since the visitors can enjoy their breakfasts surrounded with multiple levels of history around them. The names of the rooms were also kept same like the Sesame room to evoke history of the original han, yet is turned into restaurant.
Restaurant has special features and the golden touch of the architecs in the main dining area. Traditional, woodcarved Ottoman sofa is laid back to back with a Chester sofa representing the values both the hotel and interior desing in particular aimes at. Lodge seatings hava patterned wood panels and mirrors provides depth in the old vaulted space. Bar is also positioned on the ruins and the lighting design here provokes the accent on history.