As the Chairman and CEO of KOGIT Rete di imprese from 2014 to 2015, Alberto Apostoli led operation within Design and Build in Italy and abroad. 2015 saw him becoming the Vice President of A.I.P.I – National Association of Interior Design. A well-respected man in the world of Spa designing, Alberto Apostoli has created his niche with some of the most significant creations.
Passage to Heaven
The multifaceted designer is a lecturer, writer, published author apart from being an architect and designer of repute. In Brussels, Alberto presented his first solo exhibition titled “Contaminated Architectures defile between Communication and Design” at the European Parliament in 2006.
Ambiance Par Excellence
Expanding his Studio Apostoli & Associati, he opened a studio in Guangzhou in 2006 followed by a representative office in Casablanca in 2007. His expansion led him to develop and integrate the Apostoli Engineering.
Johnny D talks to the Italian designer about his latest Atrium Spa Project.
Johnny D: Please tell our esteemed readers about Studio Apostoli.
Alberto Apostoli: Studio Apostoli is a multi-disciplinary design company. We specialize in ‘Wellness’ design. Through its development, we have contributed largely through projects, products, theoretical / methodological and academic disclosures. 40 professionals take care of multiple projects in architecture, engineering, interiors and product designing.
I established Stuio Apostoli in 1997 and have extended three more brands with growing business over the years. Alberto Apostoli Architecture & Design, Apostoli Engineering and Studio Apostoli & Associati Project Management have established its name in the respective fields. The Company’s strength lies in the Project Management and Integrated Design developed mainly through BIM processes.
Integrating Marketing-Oriented Technical / Engineering Competence and creativity, our mission is to offer only ‘the’ best. Studio Apostoli offers additional services like Brand Design, Cost Control, Procurement, Integrated Communication, R&D, Business Planning, Due Diligence and Energy Management.
JD: What are the various projects your firm is busy designing in various cities and countries?
AA: We recently designed a Stem Cell and Anti-aging Center in Lijiang (China), Atrium SPA & Beauté in Macon (France) and the huge spa of Portopiccolo in Sistiana (Italy).
At present, we are working on a new baroque style villa in Beijing and an 800 sq m luxury loft apartment in Xiamen (China), a hotel of Accor Group in Brasov (Romania) and a residential complex in Mascate (Oman).
In Italy, the Laos spa of Santa Caterina Village (Maratea) is almost finished, we have just provided the drawing for a new hotel made of wood, which will be built by the lake of Garda. We are working on the extension of the Allianz insurance office in Trani.
On November 29th we inaugurated the flagship of a new store chain of cloths for children in Verona.
After the great success of the wellness module Sasha, we continue our cooperation with Jacuzzi for the development of new products.
Blending Modern with Ancient
JD: What was the Client’s brief for the Atrium SPA Project?
AA: Client specifications were clear and precise from the very beginning. They had a room located in the historic center of the city of Macon; a very charming setting a few steps away from the city’s cathedral. They wanted to preserve its medieval atmosphere and, at the same time, give guests the impression of a modern spa equipped with the best technology. The client asked to create a structure, which will be able to generate the “Wow!” effect and arouse great emotions.
Cool Shower Cubicle
JD: How many brainstorming sessions it took for the ‘Team’ to design the master plan?
AA: Since the understanding with the client was easy from the outset, the design phase developed very smoothly. The design concept became clear to me, as soon I made the first inspection. Therefore, it did not require many meetings with my staff to put on paper, what I had in mind. However, our working procedure involves short and continuous feedback between me and my co-workers rather than scheduled long meetings.
JD: How difficult was it to achieve the end results, which you had envisioned while designing the project?
AA: To be honest, we did not encounter any particular difficulties. My firm has been involved in spa design for twenty years and we know in deep, the technical difficulties of this sector. Certainly the most critical aspect was linked to the air treatments system, as the spa is located in a basement with very limited height and a high humidity; it is probably the worst conditions, where obtaining a place intended for wellness.
JD: How did you overcome the difficulties creatively? Please elaborate.
AA: As I said, the biggest challenge of this project was the massive presence of mechanical systems that would cross the entire room. It was impossible to think of placing them on the ceiling due to the limited available height. We therefore thought to create a side panel for the air discharge, hiding the facility behind a back-lit fabric. The system vents were integrated into this fabric and almost became some decorative objects.
Sophistication is the Key
JD: From the designing stage to the completion of the project, what was the time-period taken by your firm?
AA: The design stage took almost two months. The work was completed in about a year’s period.
JD: What is the total area of the project?
AA: 270 sq m.
JD: What was the approximate cost of the project?
AA: We choose the best materials and equipment. For sure, work was not done in economy, but I prefer not to say the precise cost.
JD: How would you describe the ‘Elegance of Design’ as the designer?
AA: When we speak about spa, elegance does not involve the sight only. To be elegant, a spa has to satisfy all our senses. To me an “elegant” spa is a place, where guests really feel comfortable and relaxed. It takes a good effort to combine a performance MEP system with aesthetic needs. Of course, this is our job.
Creatively Designed Passage
JD: What was the client’s first reaction when you handed over the project after completion?
AA: Unfortunately, it is not like open a gift; clients see their project growing up day-by-day and they cannot have a sudden surprise. However, the owner, Madame Polosse, recently wrote on our Facebook page that she thinks of us every day, when she looks at the beauty of her spa. That gave me great fulfillment.
JD: As a designer what is the most important aspect of interior designing?
AA: Lighting. Lighting is one of the most important “materials” for interior design and all the other materials depend on it. Even though spa design involves all human senses, vision is still the first sense to be hit; and light is the means that disclose every form, material and color to our eyes. Frank Lloyd Wright had said, “More and more, so it seems to me, light is the beautifier of the building.”
JD: Which is your favorite color and why?
AA: I do not have a favorite color, I like them all. I like whatever colors are right and the way they look in the overall context. I like right color combinations and balance.
JD: Every designer leaves behind their signature style in each project they design. What is your Signature Style?
AA: Most designers will answer that Architecture should not be confined in any style or era. Every project is unique and this is the reason why I generally do not have a signature style. However, I like to integrate my design with the local territory, culture and history. I like to play with proportion through architectural detail.
JD: Describe the feelings of winning awards with your design creations and reputation.
AA: My favorite award is client satisfaction. It may sound banal but it is the truth. We rarely enter our project to competitions. In too many cases, competitions are just business.
Designed to Perfection
JD: How would you describe Alberto Apostoli as a professional and a person?
AA: I am curious. I always try to find new source of inspirations for my professional, as well as, in my personal life. Inspiration may come from anything: encounters with people, TV shows, my children’s homework or a magazine. I actually read as much as I can, from ancient philosophy books to spring water labels. I never feel completely satisfied, because I believe there is always room for improvement.
JD: Please tell us about 5 major awards you have won recently.
AA: Here are the latest awards:
- 2014 – Pida 2014 – Premio Internazionale Di Architettura – Ischia, Italy – Second Prize: Spa Design – La SPA del Casale del Principe
- 2013 – Lidex Canada, National Design + Architecture Exposition – Bronze Award: Jacuzzi Sasha
- 2012 – PIDA 2012 – Premio Internazionale Di Architettura – Ischia, Italy – Second Prize: Spa Design – Dhara Wellness, Belfiore Park Hotel
- 2012 – Aqua Salon Exhibition – Mosca, Russia – First Prize: Best Area Wellness Design – Dhara Wellness, Belfiore Park Hotel
- 2012 – Inter Year 2012 – Chelyabisnk, Ucraina – Second Prize: Commercial Spaces Design
- 2011 – Klimahouse 2011 – Bolzano – Monier Exhibition Booth Design – Marketing Award
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