Hotel Habitat - Catania

A hotel where guests can feel at home

In a hospitality project inspired by the authentic Sicilian tradition, Hotel Habitat in Catania is housed in a renovated former fish processing plant
Silvia Airoldi
Alfio Garozzo
Marianna Nocifero - Antonio Spera (Habitat Studio)
Year of completion

Specialists in transforming ideas into reality, husband-and-wife team of architects Marianna Nocifero and Antonio Spera from Habitat Studio have carried through a hotel architecture project reflecting their concept of hospitality as a metaphor for a place where guests can relax and feel at home. Their hotel, located in the historic centre of Catania, is appropriately named Habitat in keeping with this concept. The project began with the purchase of a former fish processing plant built in the late nineteenth century and housed in a condominium building. The first step involved creating 5 rooms based on a B&B formula, after which conversion work was carried out to transform the establishment into today’s 17-room hotel. When the entire building has been purchased, it will be further expanded to become a boutique hotel complete with 26 rooms, a shop, a meeting room, a restaurant and a relaxation and wellness space. Hotel Habitat’s design is driven “by the tireless search for a perfect blend of scents, colours and elements of the past, and above all by the desire to recount Sicily and its traditions”, explains Nocifero. The project retained the inner courtyard, a typical Mediterranean feature and the heart of the project, as well as several aspects of the historical building such as the stuccoed vaults and the cement tiles on the floor. The architectural renovation project included several interventions aimed at improving the thermal and acoustic performance and insulation of the main building, which consists of loadbearing masonry with courses of brick and lava stone strips. It also focused on creating an eco-sustainable hotel featuring LED lighting and home automation systems and provision for future solar thermal panels for heating water and photovoltaics for the production of electrical energy. The architects looked for materials with characteristics of authenticity and ease of maintenance, including black steel, glass, mirrors, ceramic, wood and resin, preferably in large sizes without surface joints. “Inside the renovated rooms we adopted untreated black steel and wood, simple and clearly recognisable materials that are juxtaposed without overlapping to ensure a clear distinction between the former factory area and the recent intervention,” explained Nocifero. Continuity is instead the key characteristic of the Laminam ceramic surfaces, which were chosen in the two sizes 1000×3000 mm and 1620×3240 mm from the I Naturali collection. Reminiscent of marble and stone, these surfaces were used on the furniture tops in the bedrooms and bathrooms, on the stairs and for the shower walls. With their material textures of high aesthetic quality, the surfaces were chosen in three finishes and in colours ranging from grey to black: Pietra di Savoia Grigia and Pietra di Savoia Antracite, Emperador Grigio and Nero Greco. A 12 mm thick version was chosen for the furniture tops and 5 mm for the walls. Large-size ceramic surfaces are “the most suitable choice for spaces like a hotel that are open to the public because they are resistant to shock, scratching and external stresses and above all because the absence of joints makes them easy to clean”, explained Nocifero. The furnishings were custom designed and built by local craftsmen. “In some cases traditional Sicilian objects have been mixed with a contemporary design vision, and both are expressed authentically and without nostalgia,” concluded the architect.

Laminam, i Naturali
porcelain stoneware
1000x3000 mm / 1620x3240 mm
Nero Greco, Pietra di Savoia Grigia Bocciardata, Emperador Grigio Spazzolato
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0.3
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): da A a B
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 175 m3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Certifications and awards
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