Design that arouses a sense of yearning. The key theme at Ambiente 2015 defines a trend that is a counterpoint to our fast-paced world and is reflected in the international hotel industry. We have chosen the Square Nine Hotel in Belgrade as an example of the beauty of nostalgia. With its historical old-town location it awakens a host of memories and a yearning for a cherished past.
Can a contemporary building with clean lines and purist structure fit harmoniously into one of the oldest city centres in Europe? The Square Nine Hotel in the heart of Belgrade shows that this is indeed possible. Warm, dark wood, heavy carpets, elegant free-standing luminaires and classic furniture welcome guests to the spacious lobby bar. In contrast to the numerous chain hotels that have sprung up over the past 20 years, the aim of architect Isay Weinfeld was to pay tribute to the character and history of the growing Serbian metropolis. He wanted to design a hotel that instead of a pre-determined corporate identity offers individuality and something quite special.The creators of Square Nine agree with trend researchers. In striving to achieve an individual design they have recognised the perennial desire of people to surround themselves with things that tell stories and relate history, that waken memories and that embody our quest for timeless values. An Art Nouveau vase, a Murano crystal chandelier, a framed black-and-white photograph from the turn of the century, a paperweight with antique engraving, heirlooms, collectables, objects bought at auctions and flea markets – even if they’re not necessarily practical, they raise our spirits and fill us with emotion. Sensual surfaces of real wood, marble and other high-quality natural materials, delicate designs and opulent details, the beauty of patina documenting the passing of time – by preserving these memories we surround ourselves with reminiscences of rare and almost forgotten traditional craft skills and of our origins.
Whatever you call these objects – antiques, collectors’ pieces, kitsch, souvenirs or knickknacks – they are not status symbols defined by their monetary worth. They are things of high emotional value. And just as timeless as their beauty is the feeling of yearning that each of us knows and that belongs to each of us because it defines us. As Khalil Gibran once wrote: “To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”But let’s go back now to Square Nine and one of the best gin & tonics to be found in the city, served in a heavy Collins glass tumbler on a pure white linen coaster. With sofas by Finn Juhl and Bruno Mathsson, tables and chairs by Ole Wanscher, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and Kaare Klint and the fantastic bar stools by Arne Vodder, nothing has been left to chance in the interior design of Square Nine. Here you’ll find a unique selection of European classics collected over many years from all corners of the globe. The focus is on Danish, Scandinavian and timeless American design positioned with great attention to detail in the lobby and guest rooms. Despite the clear style direction, each area has been given its own unique character.
This attention to detail means there is always something new to discover at Square Nine – from the fresh flower arrangements, coffee table books, globes, vases and historical pictures of Belgrade to the exquisite tableware, for instance the heavy crystal glasses for serving the exceptional drinks and the marvellous sterling silver cutlery. Even the understated taupe-coloured outfits of the staff radiate a sense of quiet elegance. Square Nine awakens memories of the old Europe of design icons and avant-garde style in the middle of a pulsating city with a turbulent history in which life never seems to stand still. A hotspot for those who yearn for the genuine, the beautiful and the excellent.