Historical character meets cutting-edge design Work has officially been completed on Relais Le Chevalier in Riga, where the Art Director and Interior Designer Elisabetta de Strobel was in charge of the renovation project that restored the historical mid-eighteenthcentury building (once a private home) to its former splendour. The restoration and repair work was carried out taking account of the historical value of the construction, and sought to alter it as little as possible, safeguarding and enhancing its existing architectural hallmarks.
The work was carried out by the construction company Merks, which completed the project (covering 1214.62 square metres on six floors) for Sia Kalku 20.
The restyling operation in the common areas was designed to convey a sense of space, small though the original areas were. This illusion was created using mirrors to amplify the light and make the space look bigger, as well as glass and metal elements, and the furnishings were carefully chosen to guarantee a bright, airy effect. The restoration work maintained the inside courtyard area intact; this characteristic feature of the city’s historical buildings was given a new look, based on a concept focusing on the light, with a glass roof and a six-metre-high mirror wall that enclose the courtyard like a precious jewel and protect it from the elements. This space brings the sky right into the heart of the hotel, aided by a conditioning system that keeps the air fresh and clean at all times. Hotels almost always have windows that cannot be opened, and this is why both spot and diffused lighting were used to maintain as natural, warm an effect as possible, helping to create an engaging, inviting mood. The ventilation system is equipped with special filters to ensure healthier air, by purifying it and boosting quality. On the top floor – the sixth – is the Breakfast Area, which looks out over the rooftops of the city. The layout of this beautifully bright area takes its inspiration from the constructions typical of the Latvian capital.
The elegant French style of the furnishings is a celebration of Riga’s fame as the “Paris of the North”, and have been chosen with care, engaging luxury brands such as Bizzotto, Bertelè and Brunello 1974; the latter’s collection was designed by Elisabetta de Strobel. Faithful to the aim of maintaining the accent on history palpable throughout the building, the distinctive staircase and the main doors – dating back to when the hotel was originally built – have been restored to their former splendour.
The Relais has 23 elegant rooms, skilfully created thanks to a careful division of the floors available so as to offer a full range of facilities; again, despite the limited space available, each one has been designed to appear as roomy as possible, by creating a natural light effect inside.
“The project I devised and carried out for Relais Le Chevalier”, explained Art Director and Interior Designer Elisabetta de Strobel, “seeks to express a perfect blend of the age-old charm of Riga and the concept of hospitality in a cutting-edge designer setting, able to engage visitors with the continual references to history evident throughout the hotel and to impress them with visually striking details”.