Originally opened in Milan in 1932 under the name “Palazzo Gallia”, the beautiful Excelsior Hotel Gallia was restored and re-opened to the public in 2015 in conjunction with the Expo World Fair. The restoration project was masterminded by the architect Marco Piva who was responsible for both the structure's architectural restoration and its interior design. With immense taste and skill, Piva succeeded in combining contemporary aesthetics, the building's original Belle Epoque style and an approach that he himself defines as experimental. Firstly, the original historic building was completely restored and then an entire new steel and glass wing was added. Five new “Design Suites” were also created and in order to underline the importance of Milan as Italy's design capital, they were named after five of the city's leading designers and architects: Vico Magistretti, Achille Castiglioni, Giò Ponti, Luigi Caccia Dominioni and Franco Albini. Between the sixth and seventh floor, a wellness area was also constructed, which is Italy's first ever Shiseido Spa. The new hotel's lighting design is one of the jewels in its crown, thanks to a combination of natural and artificial lighting that enhances both its historical features and magnificent glass facade. Many of its spaces are large enough to host spectacularly decorative light sources, like the magnificent 30 metre high chandelier, created by De Majo in Murano glass that welcomes guests into the hall with 180 cylinders of light that cascade down over the historical seven floor staircase. In numerous areas of the hotel, iGuzzini has contributed to this innovative lighting system by matching the powerful graphic effects and minimum visual impact of its hi-tech luminaires with Marco Piva's other deliberately ostentatious luminaires. In the bedrooms, Underscore and Pinhole devices have been chosen to create general lighting in wardrobe areas. In the bathrooms general lighting is provided by recessed iPlan luminaires that illuminate ceilings in perfect harmony with the prestigious marble finishings. In the restaurant, the various rooms are dominated by a contemporary interpretation of a coffered ceiling that features powerful light and dark tone contrasts. These features have been further accentuated by placing a Deep Laser luminaire at the centre of each sunken panel and using Underscore devices to highlight the sides. This creates a highly distinctive atmosphere that is both comfortable and homogeneous. In the bar area, on the other hand, recessed Deep Laser, IN30 and Underscore luminaires have been used to provide not only the correct lighting levels, but also a series of distinctive graphic effects on the gloss black ceiling that contrast with the parts in white. Another particularly special area is the spa zone, which offers a well-being experience par excellence. Here, Underscore luminaires have been installed in the Turkish baths to emphasise the three-dimensional character of the ceiling. Whereas, in the swimming pool area, light blade and RGB versions of Trick have been used to create delicate chromotherapy effects that make this environment both pleasant and relaxing.
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