Generator Venice

18 Feb 2014

In the competitive market of design hostels, Generator sets itself apart as the only design hostel with multiple locations. Under the vision and direction of Director of Hospitality and Leisure, Josh Wyatt of Patron Capital, (Generator's parent company) Generators are now across Europe with a plan to go global.

Generator offers cool, stylish and affordable accommodations. Their overall creative direction and design language has been crafted by DesignAgency, led by partner and Generator's Creative Director, Anwar Mekhayech. Each location has its own unique style that reflects the local spirit and culture of its host city, while also maintaining a common aesthetic, and an emphasis on bold and exciting social spaces.

The newest destination in Generator's expanding portfolio, Generator Venice aims to change Venice's staid hotel and nightlife scene. The hostel occupies an 1855 Palazzo originally built as a granary warehouse, converted in the 1950s into Venice's only hostel. On the waterfront of the quiet, residential island of Giudecca, Generator is a one-stop vaporetto (water bus) ride from Venice's main hub of San Marco's Square. Each of the modern rooms - from the private suites to the dormitories - have panoramic views of neighbouring gardens, across to the Lido, the Grand Canal, or to San Marco and the Doges Palace.

One would be excused for mistaking the main floor for an upscale hotel. Entry through the stylish glass vestibule reveals a jewel box of discovery. The design confidently mixes the history and charm of the historic building with local craft and culture, as well as the contemporary design and a playfulness that is synonymous with the Generator brand.

A small army of structural specialists, archaeologists and restorers brought the building's stone columns, timber beams and roof trusses and the grand twin staircases back to their original glory, giving insight to the interior's beauty during the grain warehouse period. Under the strict eye of Venice's Fine Arts Committee, the designers upgraded services, added an elevator, new rooms and bathrooms, providing 21st century comfort without marring the integrity of the historic building.

To establish an atmosphere of romance and flirtation, DesignAgency divided the small main floor space into intimate and exposed enclaves, some at different levels and some shielded by a tufted leather bar. To this they added prime examples of Venetian style, manufacturing and culture, including Rubelli textile curtains, a Fantini mosaic floor, a Murano glass clown chandelier and a stone fireplace, handcrafted in Verona, to replicate a fireplace designed by Palladio in the 16th century. They wove these traditional elements with bold threads of contemporary design: Tom Dixon's Off-cut Flouro Stool (now a Generator signature); Dixon's bronze orbs over the bar; and the first installation of Marcel Wanders' New Antique Stool by Moooi - its hard, voluptuous silhouette complimenting the pillowy bar-front.

And in true Generator style, Generator Creative Director and DesignAgency Principal Anwar Mekhayech drove around Italy in a Fiat van, visiting antique markets such as the famous Fiera di Parma, and the monthly outdoor market Piazzola sul Brenta, purchasing mix-matched furniture such as an old apothecary cabinet, that becomes the backdrop to the DJ booth when the hostel kicks into party mode; a four poster bed that invites romantic trysts; as well as carpets, art, mirrors, and amusing and memorable curiosities, such as a neon sign situated in the fireplace that reads "fuoco" (Italian for fire). The collage of styles and effects, the late-night bar and this cheeky little sign suggest that Generator is ready to re-ignite Venice as Europe's notorious party hotspot.

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