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in tel aviv’s Jaffa, a former hospi­tal gets the John Paw­son treat­ment

Wallpaper - - July - the 19th-cen­tury build­ing’s nat­u­ral stone (Above left) sets the tone for the un­der­stated rooms (Above right). the former chapel (op­po­site) has been re­stored And re­pur­posed As A lounge And bar

John Paw­son makes hos­pitable with a 19th-cen­tury former hospi­tal in Jaffa

Jaffa, the old­est neigh­bour­hood in mod­ern­day Tel Aviv-yafo, is famed as the port of de­par­ture in the bib­li­cal story of Jonah and the whale. To­day, cranes punc­tu­ate the sky­line, scaf­fold­ing is as syn­ony­mous with the area as its golden cob­bled streets, and there have long been gripes that Jaffa would even­tu­ally share a sim­i­lar fate to the man in the tale and be swal­lowed up – in this case by glossy ho­tel and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments.

Thank­fully, most re­cent pro­jects have been sym­pa­thetic to the area’s his­toric char­ac­ter and dis­tinct aes­thetic, the lat­est be­ing The Jaffa Tel Aviv, a 120-room lux­ury ho­tel and 32 res­i­dences close to the district’s an­cient cen­tre.

A ren­o­vated 19th-cen­tury hospi­tal com­bined with a sub­stan­tial new-build, the ho­tel is a cross-con­ti­nen­tal col­lab­o­ra­tion: the orig­i­nal struc­ture, crum­bling and de­serted, was pur­chased by Us-based RFR Hold­ing’s Aby Rosen, who saw its po­ten­tial and en­listed Bri­tish de­signer John Paw­son to help over­see its im­pres­sive trans­for­ma­tion. ‘I’d in­vited John to Jaffa to study the prop­erty and its sur­round­ings. He im­me­di­ately picked up on the his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance of the port; the tex­tures, pat­terns and cul­tural di­ver­sity of the area,’ re­calls Rosen. ‘He un­der­stood that I wanted the de­sign of the ho­tel to re­flect this ex­tra­or­di­nary legacy.’

Along with lo­cal ar­chi­tect Ramy Gill, Paw­son de­vised a scheme that would jux­ta­pose con­tem­po­rary and clas­sic el­e­ments, and also de­signed the ad­join­ing new build­ing. The re­sult sees grand Ro­man col­umns with Corinthian cor­nices branch, tree-like, above a min­i­mal­ist mar­ble reception desk in the lobby; or­nate stained-glass win­dows throw pil­lars of mot­tled colour across aus­tere fur­nish­ings; while out­side, the façade of the old hospi­tal, with its arched win­dows and sturdy ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail­ing, sits neatly be­side the con­tem­po­rary wing, with its ro­bust, an­gu­lar lines. Here, win­dow boxes bring to mind an in­ven­tive new take on the clas­sic mashra­biya, an apt ref­er­ence to the area’s in­trin­si­cally Arab personality.

The ho­tel’s rooms, mean­while, re­flect the warm, neu­tral tones of Jaffa’s ram­pant stonework, and in the fur­ni­ture there’s ar­guably a wink to the Bauhaus style for which wider Tel Aviv is renowned. And while the area is home to some of the city’s best eater­ies, guests will find a di­verse col­lec­tion of restau­rants within The Jaffa, from a Jewish deli to a New York-style Ital­ian.∂ 4 Louis Pas­teur Street, Tel Aviv, tel: 972.3 516 2000, the­jaf­fa­ho­tel.com. Rates: from $500

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