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Hotel Fontelina, Capri

Part 1 Project 2013
Oscar Plastow
Kingston University Kingston | UK
‘Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration’

‘Hotel La Fontelina’ is located on the southeast corner of the island of Capri, within the Costiera Amalfitana or Amalfi Coast of Italy. Its unique UNESCO World Heritage status ensures the areas preservation for the interest of the international community.

La Fontelina derives from “le fonti del lino”. The women of Capri used to come to macerate flax leaves in the natural pools, which formed at the bottom of the cliffs. For centuries the thread used in clothing and fishing nets was made there. The white cliff opposite the Faraglioni was known as the “E font d’o lino’ which over time became the ‘Fontelina’.

The concept initiated through a process of surveying, drawing, and photography, aiming to capture the essence of place. Inspiration was drawn from the existing timber structures, complex stone stair arrangements and Mediterranean colour palette. I developed a thesis based on canopy, and its connection to structure, shade, light, and shelter.

I collaborated with a paper artist, to produce intuitive thematic models from macerated flax and cotton fibres. The designs were developed into mass form and carefully placed into contextual plaster models.

The broken formation of the plan developed to mould with the forms of the coastal topography. The design clings to the cliff base following the rock condition to minimise the permanent alteration to the terrain. The building forms

are arranged in a seemingly irregular composition to frame varying viewpoints and to provide public and private enclosures, for out-door cooking, drinking and sunbathing. The pale smooth light coloured concrete was selected to harmonise with the ash grey cliff face, whilst clearly defining the construction as a manmade intervention. With careful analysis of scale, material and a clear appropriate programme, the scheme aims to satisfy the exacting requirements that UNESCO World Heritage Status identifies, to preserve Capri as an outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape, and develop and contribute to its unique historical evolution.

Oscar Plastow


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