Santa & Cole furniture harmonize with the fabrics used for the canopies and screens, with their patterns inspired by details of Pompeian mosaics preserved at the Archeological Museum. Co-founder Nicola Ciancio recounts the place
SuperOtium, Naples – a place of creative idleness
SuperOtium, Naples is a hybrid space, an artists’ residence but also a place for a weekend escape. From the Latin ‘Super’ (to go beyond) and ‘Otium’ (time of creativity), SuperOtium is a place of creative idleness, a hospitality format aimed at experiencing art and design and allowing one to discover the more creative side of the city.
Today, the meaning of otium refers to idleness as a space of laziness, a connotation generated by hurried lives, scheduled days and compelling hours. In ancient Rome, otium was something different. Opposed to the negotium, it defined the time men devoted outside the cities to their studies, compositions and intellectual speculations. Otium was considered a time of laborious leisure of much personal duties instead of public duties.
Embracing this philosophy, Nicola Ciancio – author and curator of cultural projects and creative director for events – and Vincenzo Falcione – project manager in the field of Ecology and Environment – opened the hotel, SuperOtium, Naples in 2017.
SuperOtium, Naples: a bridge between historical and contemporary art and culture
SuperOtium, Naples is located in a large nineteenth-century apartment overlooking the rooms of the Archaeological Museum of Naples and it is an active bridge between historical and contemporary creativity. Outside the windows, travelers can look at halls of the museum or at the inner courtyard full of greenery and plants but, on the internal walls of the SuperOtium, the works produced by the artists during their residency programs are hung. Books, catalogues, and paintings offer guests the opportunity to get to know the creations of those who have inhabited the places and fed the furnishings, creating a sort of collection; those in residence are asked to leave a trace of their passage with a work for sale, a publication or a tangible sign of their passage. Thanks to a program of residencies for artists and creatives and a calendar of cultural events, the hotel has become an international reference point for travelers, artists, curators, creatives, writers and culture lovers who want to explore the contemporary city.
Nicola Ciancio, one of the two founders, says: «Through cultural activities, events and its structure, SuperOtium, Naples offers new points of view and perspectives to admire Naples and its surroundings, and to stimulate the possibility of building new meanings around what we observe every day. The context is the journey, which gives us a chance to observe things from different angles, to make experiences and encounter cultures. The tool is the encounter between individuals, a steadfast exchange and dialogue between travelers, artists, curators and creative talents in residence, local artists, the museums and independent bodies and organizations working with culture and creativity which share this vision».
In this way, SuperOtium, Naples provides the travelers with a familiar hospitality facility and it conveys an image of Naples that could reach beyond the folklore of food and landscape to express the city’s cultural richness and innovation and stimulate the creation of new projects and ideas.
Architecture and design of SuperOtium, Naples
In this large apartment, the interiors are designed by the Hypereden, a collective of architects, designers and installation designers who curated the project for SuperOtium, Naples in the first art residency hosted in the place. A refurbishing project with a focus to detail and on the recovery of its nature and surroundings, making SuperOtium a place to combine traditional hospitality with events, exhibitions, dinners with artists, workshops, and more. The interior design and decoration restored the space’s original elements, and sought to find a mediation between the feeling of being elsewhere and the search for the familiar.
«From the beginning, the idea was to create a link between those who want to discover the city and those who live, design and create in this city. Naples is often portrayed with stereotypes that simplify its multifaceted nature and prevent newcomers from perceiving the complexity of this city. For this reason, and in line with the identity and interest of those who experience it daily, we depict and convey a contemporary, innovative and evolving Naples. A city which is tied to a strong and clear identity that all its inhabitants feel strongly about, but nonetheless remains constantly perched between tradition and evolution, an open-air museum of the real and immaterial which speaks a popular language to relate to the contemporary age. A city which, even when its beauty turns it into a leading tourist attraction, never yields to becoming a glossy postcard, but stays true to itself and to its thousand contradictions».
The constant spatial continuity between private and common spaces allows the meeting between travelers, artists, curators and creative people in residence and local museums and all bodies and independent organizations that adhere to this vision. The original high wooden ceiling, the minimalist furniture, the light and mobile separations and the early ‘900s majolica tile or hardwood flooring in the rooms make it easy to perceive the width of the space and at the same time create intimate niches. The minimalist design of the rooms and the furniture allows guests to modulate the large spaces to their liking, reappropriating them and feeling at home.
Permeability and connections
With a focus on recovering the original form of the house, by creating a contemporary space, Hypereden’s project aimed at creating visual and spatial solutions to satisfy the need for a connection between guests and the city and among guests themselves. The private rooms are equipped with openings in the inner walls where the use of light triggers a game of connections between spaces. The six bedrooms and the studio-room dedicated to art residencies, feature a neutral color palette, highlighted by pops of green, orange, grey and blue, extensive fields of color that reflect the main colors from outside into the interior space.
The entire apartment is characterized by a sequence of thresholds: between interior and exterior, common areas and places of passage, public areas and the intimacy of private rooms. The thresholds connecting the environments have been modified to enhance the feeling of the passage, while the closed areas separating the different spaces were, in some cases, dedicated to specific activities and integrated with permanent furniture thus transforming them into living spaces.
Simplistic furniture and curated accessories set the ‘less-is-more’ tone inside. Traditional closets disappear, leaving space for visible clothing racks. Table lamps and lighting products are chosen from the catalogue of Santa & Cole, an independent global editor of design products, which with its design objects enhances the silence from the screeching. Furniture by the likes of Santa & Cole harmonize with the fabrics used for the canopies and screens, with their patterns inspired by details of Pompeian mosaics preserved at the city’s world-famous Archeological Museum. «SuperOtium is a multifaceted space that brings together accommodation, a library of books on art and design in consultation, a program of artist residencies and small events including book presentations, dinners with artists in residence and temporary exhibitions. SuperOtium is a place dedicated to meeting and idleness, the creative and stimulating».
Via S. Teresa Degli Scalzi, 8 80135 Naples
SuperOtium is a boutique hotel that combines the typical reception activity with a residency program for artists and creative talents who want to draw inspiration from Naples. The hotel also offers a calendar of cultural events and it is a contact point between guests and the city to discover what lies behind the postcards and access the pulsating soul of the city.