The new JW Marriott is a built on Sacca Sessola, the largest of the hundreds of islets scattered across the Venetian lagoon. The luxury hotel includes private villas, pools, restaurants, and a spa and wellness center. It is surrounded by a lush park, olive trees, ivy-trellised terraces and a vegetable garden which provides fresh produce for the resort’s two restaurants.
‘This is a return to nature,’ says Milan-based architect Matteo Thun, who together with partner Luca Colombo not only designed the buildings and its interiors, but also the landscaping that unfurls freely across the 160,000 square meter property. ‘The empty spaces are a true luxury in Venice.’
A former convalescent hospital for contagious patients, the island’s original structures date back to 1936. Rather than toppling the series of abandoned buildings, Thun carefully restored each of them to maintain the year-worn patina of their antique brick facades. He then built new structures within the original frames without touching the existing walls. Thun’s ‘box-in-the-box’ principle allows for an authentic rendition of storied buildings.
But his interiors are strictly non-nostalgic, as his design doctrine is dedicated to sustainability and zero-waste. Thun worked with a network of local partners including textiles from Rubelli, customized light installations by Barovier & Toso, Zucchetti’s bathroom fixtures, hand-blown glass lamps by Antonio Rodriguez and produced by Artemide and clean furniture crafted from local wood.
Meanwhile, all of the treatment rooms in the spa as well as the rooftop infinity pool offer views of the Venetian skyline. ‘You can see the sunset in Piazza San Marco,’ says the architect. ‘It’s fantastic. It’s so rare to actually see Venice in Venice.’