Amongst the most renowned spa complexes in Italian ancient history, Terme di Saturnia stands out from other thermal buildings, due to the extraordinary geological dynamic conformation of the waters gushing out of the crater and resulting in lovely waterfalls complemented by shallow natural pools. And, of course, its design.

Completed in 1919, on the threshold of its 101st anniversary the complex has been renewed by the London-based studio THDP with a project offering insights into the future and a look back to the past.

“The initial briefing strived to achieve a visible and perceived renewal, while retaining the original internal architectural structure and maintaining the high-quality furnishings as part of the former design project by the architect Lorenzo Bellini” – architect Manuela Mannino from THDP explains.

The Concept

The original thermal spring is the tank-shaped crater from which clean water renewed at intervals of six hours flows with a 37.5 degrees constant temperature. As the water descends towards the Mill, it cools down and the sulphur crystalizes, thus rendering the water brighter and purer and giving it a celestial colour due to the presence of crystalized sulphur.

The water of Saturnia originates from the rain that falls on Mount Amiata, finding erosive underground paths of travertine and eventually re-emerging from the crater after 40 years, hence resulting in small bubbles and continuous circular movements on the tank.

The inspiration for the concept arises from the favorable natural condition. The earth, the air, and the water modify the elements, the light, the temperature. “We have employed terms such as reflection, corrosion, erosion, layering, ripples to convey the visual and emotional language of interior design”

The waterfalls of the Mill have been the inspiration behind the design project of the reception area, realized in collaboration with local artisans such as the Ragnini workshops from Pitigliano – who crafted oxidized tables and bronzed handles – and with experienced craftsmen who obtained corroded metals and sulphur dense water from the processing of liquid metals.

Hotel & Lobby

The property features – due to its position on the territory with respect to the famous spring – two distinct settings, connected between large common areas such as the lobby and reception. On the one hand, THDP can find the famous spring of sulfur water while, on the other, the serenity and the intimacy of the surrounding greenery.

The first impact is constituted by the entrance, whose centerpiece is the insertion of the insertion of a single large central door, a focal fireplace conveying warmth and hospitality, the welcome desk and a living area. The existing central window remains unchanged, framing the olive tree with seats covered with outdoor fabrics. A “pop-up” bar has been included in the project in order to provide a multifunctional and flexible area to serve the best wines and a social table eno-gastronomic experiences and tastings.

A “living wall” characterized by green provides the backdrop for the culinary events, beside shielding the entrance to the buffet room behind.

The central patio is furnished with a blend of classic and contemporary furnishings, modern flair that enhance and dress up the internal garden located around the olive tree. Accessories, artworks and flooring evoke and continue the emphases of the surrounding area, namely the spa. The purpose is to maintain the original furnishings as far as possible by adding new pieces or additions, thus creating a fresher and more attractive space. The strong and intimate link with the territory is recalled by the terracotta pieces reminiscent of Tuscan workers of that time, the warm colors, the existing travertine and the surrounding green, thus providing a comprehensive vision of what Maremma is.

“Enhancing the feeling of the coming, with the renovation of the entrance and the porch through a greater transparency effect between interior and exterior and a better lighting on the entrance with suspended lanterns and two large lightening installations that reproduce on the ceiling reflections of water. Creating a sense of vertical perspective through a sculpture designed to recall the waterfalls of the mill and the oxidation of the water, by overlaying several finished metal plates with different oxidation effects and backlit. Creating a point of encounter between classic and contemporary by mixing existing furniture with new outdoor pieces by Emu and Talenti, along with two large lounge sofas around the lobby’s central fireplace”. These are the objectives set out by Manuela Mannino with regard to the common areas contained in the project.

Guest Rooms

The 124 guest rooms have undergone an intensive renovation program. The focus is on the guest comfort, the services and the production of an interior that reflects the softer, more relaxed interior narrative style of the public areas.

Creative details customize these rooms, such as the new upholstery that covers the wardrobes, designed exclusively for the resort by THDP and the artistic project of the paintings, evocative of the colors of the spa, created by the artists Due Alberi of Rome.

The fabrics and upholstery are all renewed with shades of turquoise, petroleum and blue, in order to evoke the feeling of well-being given by the spring water.

The color palette for the rooms is inspired by the colors of the Maremma landscape: the rooms appear in a fresh and innovative style while keeping the features of a recognizable Tuscan style, giving rise to a timeless design. The inspiration for the design of the furniture comes from the Tuscan leather tradition, with reinforced metal details in the sideboard mini bar covered in leather, hangers with leather supports and a transparent wardrobe with printed motifs de jouy agreste designed exclusively for the hotel THDP.

Project: Terme di Saturnia
Location: Tuscany, Italy
Design Studio: THDP
Photo Credits: Eye Wander Photography

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