Nordelaia: Designing for human connection in the age of tech

by | 04 Mar 2020 | Design

The stunning Nordelaia hotel invites guests to connect – in a real way.

Winner of Creative Spark at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London 2020, Rose Murray from These White Walls presents Nordelaia, a charmingly transformed Italian estate.

The designer behind Nordelaia, Rose Murray, attended TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR 2020 in London to present their designs as part of the Creative Spark competition.

We take a look at this elegant boutique hotel nestled in the hills of Alessandria.

Creative Spark winner presents Nordelaia

The latest instalment of the now legendary TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR day-long networking event and conference took place on February 6th in the Conrad St. James, London.

Attendees waited with bated breath to hear all about the latest and greatest designs coming out of the UK’s hospitality market. There were three projects in the running, and one of these was Nordelaia, a luxury boutique hotel in the Piedmont wine region of Italy.

It was presented by Rose Murray, founder of the concept-driven design studio These White Walls, who brings her background in styling, design and scenography to every project.

Italian heritage for the 21st century

Murray introduced the project by outlining the challenges facing the design team in terms of conquering the ubiquitous technology that accompanies guests wherever they go.

While iPhones and laptops must be accommodated, there must also be space carved out for genuine human connection, a priority on the type of trip that people come to this part of Italy for.

Nestled in the foothills of Alessandria, Nordelaia is a 12-key luxury boutique hotel and These White Walls were tasked with transforming the existing farmhouse on the five-acre estate into a concept-led lifestyle hotel.

The project took agritourism as a cornerstone of the concept, as well as nurturing personal moments of calm and intimacy.

Striking the right balance

Murray told delegates at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London that the central question that informed all aspects of the design was, “What kind of connectivity are we going for, how can we hit the right balance?”

They answered this with a two-pronged strategy that focused on two key aspects of connectivity – connecting with nature and connecting with each other.

The property is primarily geared towards couples, so it is small and intimate, with a symmetrical architecture in spaces such as the nook in the guest rooms that relates to the individuality of two people coming together.

Its garden landscape also encourages precious moments to be spent together, where couples can retreat to bespoke seating and look out over the vineyard and the rolling hills of Piedmont.

A hotel as a homestead

Murray spoke convincingly and passionately about her drivers for the transformation of the existing farmhouse and the creation of a new volume on site, which included the ideas of a homestead and nurturing.

The feeling of a homestead is created through a new living room space which guests enter upon arrival. They are poured a glass of the wine that is produced on site, which they can relax and enjoy in front of the hearth.

The property is also an advocate of the slow food movement that is synonymous with the Piedmont region of Italy, and so this is used as a way to connect visitors to the experience of the hotel.

Nordelaia also boasts a modern, three-storey fine dining restaurant which uses produce from the chef’s garden. Other features include a game room, terraces with outdoor pools and a neutral palette of materials and colours that is conceived of as a continuum of the external to the internal.

Upon winning, Rose Murray said, “It was brilliant to take part. For designers, it’s absolutely worth it as it’s an opportunity to talk about the things people don’t understand go into your design. There’s so much thought and creativity behind everything. You get to communicate that, and people love it.”

Creative Spark is a hotel design competition that includes three architects/interior designers, and it’s a staple of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR programming. Shortlisted finalists present their projects, and further discuss their work as part of a stimulating panel discussion, giving valuable insights to the assembled guests about the state of hospitality architecture and design.

For information on how to enter the Creative Spark competition or about upcoming TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR events, get in touch with TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.

To attend, address or sponsor TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR events where you can connect with key professionals from the global hotel industry, please get in touch with TOPHOTELPROJECTS’ Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.

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The TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR is a series of one-day conferences around the world for hospitality leaders.