Sabine Marcelis’ unique work inspired by her stay at Hotel de la Ville, will be presented in Rome on 28th of September 2022. 

The Eternal City’s vibrant colours and iridescent shades of sky have conquered the Dutch artist to the point of becoming the principal elements of her latest sculpture, a work that will be unveiled in the courtyard of Hotel de la Ville, a Rocco Forte Hotel in Via Sistina. The nuances of the Roman sunset, best seen from the sixth and seventh floor terraces of the Hotel, are collected and enhanced in a spherical shape that reflects the silhouette of the alcove where the work will stand as a part of the Hotel de la Ville’s private collection. The sculpture is outlined by light, allowing it to emerge from its niche as a large, luminous, colourful and vibrant presence.

Sabine Marcelis has also created her own walking itinerary, an immersive journey curated that illustrates her inspirational stay in Rome. Available for guests from autumn 2022, the itinerary unfolds in the historic centre of Rome and combines both iconic locations and lesser known treasures of the Eternal City. Departing from the Hotel de la Ville, guests are guided to a hidden garden, a historic bookshop, an ancient library and the iconic Pantheon monument that represents the key element of the inspiration behind the work.

The collaboration between Sabine Marcelis and the Hotel de la Ville forms part of the synergy that all Rocco Forte Hotels cultivate and develop to enhance the creative strength that exists between artists and hospitality. 


Tell us about your background as a designer

 I was born in the Dutch city of Alkmaar but immigrated to New Zealand with my family when I was 10. Growing up in New Zealand and particularly spending so much time in nature has had a huge impact on the way I work and my inspirations to date. At the age of 21, I decided to study industrial design at Victoria University of Wellington, but after two years my connection to the Netherlands pushed me back to the country where I was born. This led me to attend the Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), where I believed I could express my creativity with more freedom. Directly after graduating I started my own studio. I knew I wanted to explore my fascinations and not work for anyone else. The first few years I did a lot of freelancing and worked around the clock all by myself. Now I am lucky to have a fantastic team of talented individuals working alongside me in my studio in Rotterdam. I am not too interested in labels, I was trained as a designer and I think like one, meaning that I believe there needs to be a reason for every decision in the process of designing. However, I do dance on the edge of other fields like art and architecture. I am continuously exploring opportunities among production and materiality across different scales. This makes me feel extremely lucky, as I perceive what I do as a lifestyle, not as an obligation. Even when I am not at my studio, I think about new projects. I love what I do, and this keeps motivating me in everything.

And how would you describe your work?

 I work with materiality as a starting point and can bring ideas to life by collaborating with industry specialists. The materials I am most known for working with are glass and resin, but I keep experimenting with new materials, cutting-edge technologies and innovative techniques. In my projects I don’t make distinctions between works commissioned by commercial clients or works created for art galleries. I put the same effort and passion in every project I develop with my team, so that all the final outcomes are embedded by the same minimalist sensibility and fueled by a sense of experimentation. Each project is an invitation to challenge myself, my team and a material. I want to keep pushing boundaries.

How did your relationship with Hotel de la Ville, a Rocco Forte Hotel, begin?

 I have known Rocco Forte Hotels for many years, but I have never had the chance to experience one of their amazing hotels. It all started a few months ago, when the co-curator of this project and a dear friend of mine – Edoardo Monti – called me to tell me about the project Suite Art. I was excited about experiencing a real roman stay with all the best comfort I could ever ask for.

Coming back to Rome, what makes it a special city and how do you spend your time there? Can you offer any insider recommendations around the city?

 I love Italy and I have a special relationship with the country as I have a lot of friends there. My professional life has also really blossomed thanks to Italy; the Salone del Mobile and Italian luxury fashion houses have given me many opportunities to showcase my work. I don’t come that often to Rome however, so the possibility of living in the city with my family for a few days was a blast. The outstanding beauty hidden in every corner and people’s hospitality makes Rome so special. I fell in love with the colours and the light of the sunset viewed from the terrace of the Hotel de la Ville. You will see these colours returning in the work I am currently creating for the hotel! During my stay, I had the chance to visit the most iconic roman spaces such as Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and the astonishing Pantheon, they all inspired me in different ways for my work at Hotel de la Ville. I also had the opportunity to visit exclusive venues normally closed to the public, thanks to Corinna Turati. Palazzo Colonna was one of my favorite venues.