Hotels in times of tax credits
“The real luxury lies not in the mandatory use of sumptuous or excessively expensive materials, but rather in the quality of the experience, in the ability to be happy and to know how to live your own world to the max in this world”, observes architect Simone Micheli. The concept of “splendour” is honed while hotels enjoying tax credits are drawing on funds for refurbishment. The Italian decree in May last year made 20 million euros available in funding for 2015 and 50 for the
Funds make refurbishment possible, the birth of locations offering unrepeatable experiences. Interview with Simone Micheli
years from 2016 to 2019. And a record number of applications have been received, has announced the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism. Over 77 million euros were requested for the first slice and in the first four minutes of “click day”, the start of online applications, requests sent in equalled 86% of the total allocated. Federlegno Arredo reported that for furniture alone, applications totalled 27.1 million euros against the two million available, namely 10% of the maximum total. “We are not surprised that the result of this first round of funding was all over in a handful of seconds”, said Giorgio Palmucci, president of the Italian Confindustria As- sociation of Hotels. We have already asked the Government to increase this measure, both in terms of more funds and a longer expiry date, considering that refurbishment work requires planning. Without then forgetting that, in addition to the hotel sector, this manoeuvre also affects the building and furnishing sectors with a positive impact for the country’s economy". Planners and designers are in favour of the initiative because it drives towards “the quality of hotels and compares them to the international competition”, emphasises Micheli. “These incentives promote the elimination of architectural barriers, together with energy efficiency and savings. Encoura-
ging digitalisation, we have finally started to give communication the value it deserves”. It is precisely this latter factor, through the telling of experiences, that has transformed the hotel into somewhere welcoming on its way to becoming an icon.
This planner’s advice to those deciding to refurbish their hotel or similar, is to turn it into “an attraction, putting it at the cen- tre of the dynamic system of relations and emotions that man creates every day”, he continues. “And to do this it must be known to a large number of people, who have both physical and virtual access to it, easy contact and the chance to view it and get to know about the facilities it has to offer”. But architectures able to generate similar adventures are still “too few, even in large, Italian cities wellknown worldwide”. “In order to put itself in the centre of that
system of relations I mentioned before, a hotel must attract and fascinate the mind of visitors, offering them an engaging, complete experience that they can enjoy nowhere else in a similar fashion”.
In Micheli’s experience, the tax credit has rewarded technological innovation as the main sec tor of intervention. “Great importance has been given to digitisation and domotics, with automation of systems to implement customized responses to guests’ needs”. This has led to energy savings and efficiency, with a reduction in waste and the creation of sustainable projects.
“Finally, this credit has been essential in breaking down architectural barriers”. Public areas were, therefore, the first to undergo significant work thanks to the tax credit: halls, restaurants and meeting rooms have “often been turned into open cutting-edge spaces for spending quality time with others, no longer temporary passing places”, he concludes. “Rooms, bathrooms, accesses to the spa or treatment area, the hotel as a whole has, over recent years seen a big shift towards change, newness, organic”.
After Townhouse Duomo by Sevenstars in Milan and the World Hotel Ripa in Rome, among projects for 2015, the architect and traveller Micheli has various hotels in the pipeline in Matera, Verona, Como, Casablanca and Dubai, to mention just a few places. “We create locations that are sustainable from both an environmental and economic point of view, built also with the intention of paying homage and enhancing the distinguishing features of their regions and cultures. Spaces where contemporary man’s thoughts manage to slide ‘elsewhere’, but which could not exist in any other place or moment than where and when, in that precise instant, they are created”.