Project Name: Imperator

Location: France

Date Completed: June 2019

Interior Designer: Naço

The Imperator, a five-star hotel in Nîmes, was originally established in 1929 when the Paris Lyon Marseille railway line opened. The hotel was brought back to life after 20 months of renovations, ensuring to take consideration of its seniority and revive the glorious past of the building.

With the renovation is complete and the interior restored, only the concrete structure remains unchanged. The entrance of the hotel heralds a grand decoration comprised of wood and natural stone, expanding surfaces with large old-fashioned mirrors, and transparency with open windows to enjoy the brightness of spaces such as the bar, brasserie and lobby. In each of these rooms with symbolic names honouring the illustrious occupants (Ava Gardner, Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Picasso or Cocteau), designer Marcelo Joulia has matched neutral colours such as
beige and white on leather headboards, on the velvet armchairs, together with brighter colours on the carpet in the rooms. The bedrooms and bathrooms are separated by a sliding mirror in the shape of a porthole. The bathrooms are fully clad with natural, beige coloured stones. The two spaces are decked with grand materials such as brass and marble. Design and graphics merge to create innovative solutions for high-end international customers.

The new design of the Imperator integrates well into the wider environment because Nîmes has an old spirit aspect and the hotel has been perfectly involved in its environment. This combination of unique crafts converging in this urban resort, orchestrated by the Naço agency and its founder Marcelo Joulia, offers a new vision of the art of French reception and invents a contemporary approach to voluptuous and warm luxury.

This harmony, due to the renovation and landscaping, is also refined by the arrangement of works by various artists within the spaces: Guy Bareff’s works of earthenware, Jean-Pierre Formica’s sculptures, lanterns from the designer Marco Marino, the sofas of the artist Thierry Carretero, the
fabric paintings by Claude Viala, the lithographs of the Gallery of Michelle Champetier and the gallery HUS where we find artists such as Jim Bird, Jesùs-Rafael Soto, Andy Warhol, Vasarely or Jacques Monory, the ceramic tiles of Anna Maria Vasco and the sculptures of 36 recyclab. Added to
this, the unique art books and a Marcelo Joulia drawing of the transformation on display in each room.
During their research, a few postcards were found on which the old logo could be seen. It will set the tone and became essential to the scenography. The large O and its geometric shape would become one of the visual components of the new interior decoration and has been integrated into the
designs of the carpets, the bedroom walls and the bodyguards uniforms. Simultaneously, the elevator, the antique chandelier, the grand staircase and the restored arches, witnesses to the hotels’ glory days, remain faithful to its memory – a subtle reminder of the past, a common theme in
the restoration.