The design inspiration behind the beautiful Istoria Hotel on the Santorini Island stems from the building itself and the stories of the people who resided in it throughout the years.
Situated beside the dark blue Aegean Sea, Istoria Hotel is a destination for travellers looking for a relaxing retreat to enjoy the elegant, understated luxury of the Santorini Island. The hotel was originally a deserted private residence with five stables where the former owner used to keep her beloved horses. The long-forgotten story has since been used as a series of ideas and images that form the hotel’s unique and authentic theme, designed by Interior Design Studio Laboratorium. In fact, the hotel name Istoria means ‘story’ in Greek, alluding to the story-based theme of the hotel while welcoming guests to create their own story and special memory during their stay.
Istoria’s design is an unconventional blend of Mediterranean features and an architectural style that embraces the traditional architecture on the Santorini Island. Muted walls with minimal accents emit a sense of refined simplicity, leaving out distractions and instead, bringing the guests’ attention to the serene landscape of the surroundings. Minimal furnitures and unpolished wooden finishes in the hotel interior whisk guests away to a simpler time, taking away unnecessary distractions and reminding them to live in the moment.
The former residence had to be remodelled from scratch to accommodate the twelve guest suites. The primary goal was to design beautiful and functional spaces that embody the unique architectural characteristics Laboratorium desired to achieve. Every material and texture were planned out and pinpointed to the specified design philosophy, and were followed through consistently throughout the assignment. Even though each suite follows the same guidelines throughout, each suite is unique with its own individual floor plans and orientation. Laboratorium believes that every material and decorative element generates feelings. For Hotel Istoria, the materials were meticulously selected to convey a feeling of serenity and intimacy.
The architecture was inspired mainly by the traditional architecture of Santorini Island. Traditional arched doors and windows were integrated into almost every opening to the building. Before entering the suite, guests will first pass through the deep terracotta-coloured private balcony overlooking the neighbouring Aegean Sea. Here you can spend the day basking in the sun with a glass of Greek Ouzotini cocktail, or soak in the private pool on the verandas to cool down from the sun.
(Left and Right) Characteristic design elements were carefully selected to create the desired vibe for Istoria Hotel.
Every piece of furniture was designed exclusively for Istoria Hotel by Laboratorium. The furnishings, combined with distressed pieces of stone and pieces with the traditional art of rope weaving creates a museum-like interior where guests are drawn to observe each piece in awe.
A mix of private and public relaxation points let guests choose between different views. The large shared pool overlooks the infamous Black Beach of the Santorini Island while providing ease of access to the cocktail bar and plenty of shaded loungers. Sheltered from the public eye, the central hotel pool captivates guests with a base made of dark marble stone slabs that reflect the equally dark volcanic beaches of the island. Black volcanic rocks walls with traditional coloured plaster surrounds the pool, adding interesting textures that compliment the otherwise muted blank walls of the building itself.
Laboratorium incorporated authentic elements that were found in the old residence, such as parts of the old wooden roof and stone pillars, into the interior of the hotel to add a theatrical touch. The original materials also pay tribute to the history of original house, weaving together the past and present in its subtle details. “The goal was for the visitors to feel as if the old residence is still present, despite the alterations. Like a heart-beating narrator whispering a wordless story to each and every guest of the hotel” described Laboratorium.
Although the Santorini charm already draws many visitors to the beloved sun and beach destination, Istoria Hotel is a truly unique getaway that adds a human touch to the guest’s living experience by bringing in the story and history of the property through its design. For those wanting a laid-back vacation in the Mediterranean, don’t forget to add this beautiful retreat to your checklist!
PROJECT STATUS COMPLETED JUNE 2018
CREATIVE CONCEPT INTERIOR DESIGN: LABORATORIUM
LEAD DESIGNER: STAMOS HONDRODIMOS
ASSOCIATE DESIGNER: DIONYSIS KOUTSIOUMARIS
LIGHTING DESIGNER: KAFKAS