It’s not typical for new hotels to open in the centre of Rome, but JK Place Roma isn’t your typical hotel. Michele Bonan is the legendary creative brain behind the Eternal City’s new luxury “residence”.
After eight years searching for the perfect place to build his third hotel, JK Place founder and astute hotelier Ori Kafri chanced upon a disheveled 19th Century palazzo close to the University Of Rome. Nestled in a side street, historically relevant and only a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps – the property was everything he was looking for.
As with JK Place in Florence and Capri, Kafri wanted his Roman hotel to have the atmosphere of a grand, albeit effortless private residence. He soon enlisted his favourite Florentine architect, Michele Bonan, and the result is a 30-bedroom property in his signature style: ultra stylish and utterly individual. A noted “perfectionist of harmony”, Bonan is also a master in creating the home-away-from-home vibe. DNA: With regards to JK Place Rome, what was the property like when you were first engaged? Michele Bonan: No comment [laughs]! But we unearthed a beautiful staircase and salvaged a few details which ultimately gave us the inspiration for the whole concept. What was your brief from the client? Was there a particular desired look? We spoke with Ori with regards to the functional requirements. Otherwise he gave me free reign to develop the mood and final scheme. Does JK Place Rome have a similar vibe to JK Capri and Florence? Of course JK Roma has a similar design ethos to its sister properties. Nonetheless, Rome is neither Capri nor Florence. And what, most importantly, has been the result with JK Rome? How would you describe the overall aesthetic postrenovation? Try it for yourself ! I will say nothing more than that it has an extraordinary energy. What is your earliest memory of design? I have always been infatuated by buildings and design. From a very young age I had a very clear, and perhaps slightly precocious, idea of where I wanted to steer my career path. How did this progress into your profession? Slowly at first, step by step – Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all! However, I was fortunate enough to have a supportive patron early on. He believed in me and ultimately encouraged me to persevere. How do you describe your signature look? Has it changed over the years? Classic, with references to antiquity while concurrently having 20th Century artifacts and modern designs thrown in for good measure. I love cool, neutral colours: creams, whites, grays. But then I also adore bold ‘statement’ colours: reds, blues, greens, yellows. Everything has its place. My look hasn’t changed but it has certainly evolved and, I hope, improved! If you had one piece of advice for someone about to engage an interior designer, what would it be? Aside from budget, obviously, it’s extremely important to get on well with your decorator/designer. There must be a good atmosphere between both of you so that the design can develop and flourish organically.