Design showcase: Top 5 designs with grisaille or ornamental painting

by | 27 Jul 2022 | Design

This week’s collaboration with TOPHOTELDESIGN showcases five elegant hotels which utilise a decoration technique to cleverly trick the eye into seeing raised finishes on flat surfaces.

Grisaille or grisaglia, is a type of monochromatic painting style, originally in grey or neutral tones, that produce the illusion of three-dimensional texture or architectural reliefs. Often it embodies the appearance of ornamental moulding.

Some say that being a skilful painter is the same as being a talented liar; making people see things that aren’t really there. The reason why it looks so realistic is not only the colour but also the understanding of perspective and lighting.

Channelling bygone eras

Its aesthetic is reminiscent of another era, giving guests the experience of entering a modernised version of a classic palazzo. Apart from that, this type of ornamental detail is usually arranged and designed around pre-existing topographies of the architecture itself, leading the visitor’s eyes through every nook and cranny of the building’s peculiarities.

Today we selected five projects that made the best out of these types of ornamental painting and mouldings, creating a balance between old and new.

Click on the images below to explore the projects in TOPHOTELDESIGN.


Como Castello del Nero

Barberino Tavarnelle, Italy
by Pablo Navone

Image by Martin Morell


Radisson Collection Hotel Palazzo Nani

Venice, Italy
by Studio Marco Piva
supplied by Geberit & Hansgrohe


Palazzo Daniele

Gagliano del Capo, Italy
by Palomba Sarafini Associati


The Buxton Crescent Hotel

Derbyshire, United Kingdom
by ctd architects & Archer Humphryes Architects
supplied by Hansgrohe & Kaldewei

Image by John Athimaritis


Belmond Hotel Cipriani 

Venezia, Italy

Image by Tyson Sadlo

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