Vemworks was established in 2003 by the partnership of 3 architects: Vittoria Fiorito, Emanuele Corte and Marco Dellatorre. Since then, Vemworks has realized projects in which architecture, industrial design, art and craftsmanship blend together. Handicraft is central in the planning process, aiming to realize unique spaces, beyond standards and archetype.
Under this perspective, the continuous experimentation must be seen with the aim to achieve innovative and original solution by designing and creating every single detail which must blend in a unique project. This is possible by relying on a network of selected and trusted craftsmen and workshops. The unrepeatability of the project is a characteristic of Vemworks approach. Any project and object must be a real “experience” shared with the client with whom we explore and invent together. The planning approach shapes itself on the client’s demands and on the brainstorming process in which all the team of architects and designers are involved. The outcome is always an accurate refined and innovative project, features that mark vemworks philosophy. In the last years vemworks has secured important partnership with brands and companies in several areas of interest ranging from furniture, lightning and design. These partnerships allows vemworks to offer to their clients an “integrated” architecture.
Vemworks philosophy is clearly visible in their creations within the multiple fields in which it has been challenged, first of all within the private residential sec- tor but also within the public and commercial sector too. In 2016 Vemworks architects founded Vemworks LLC in New York City to operate in the US market. A.D. 1768 hotel – project and design Vemworks
Right before reaching the majestic Piazza del Duomo, Ragusa Ibla looks like a maze of narrow streets, where cars cross with unprecedented ease and the houses tell of a noble and glorious past, but at the same time communicate a feeling of twilight typical of certain areas of Sicily. Right here in the heart of Ibla and Val di Noto, in one of the most beautiful Italian UNESCO site, you’ll find A.D. 1768, a 4-star boutique hotel with 10 rooms. The project, signed by the Vemworks studio (architects Marco Dellatorre, Emanuele Corte and Vittoria Fiorito, Milan, Turin, and New York-based) together with the hotel owner Giuseppina Donato, was created under the supervision of the superintendency of Ragusa, and saw the scientific restoration and consolidation of one of the best-pre- served noble buildings in the city, the Palazzo Arezzo of Donnafugata, which stands at the intersection be- tween Piazza del Duomo and Via Conte Cabrera.
This ancient patrician residence, whose origins date back to 1768, remained uninhabited for about 50 years, until this intervention, which began in 2017 and ended in 2019, promoted its conversion into a luxury accommodation facility. The intervention brought the ancient essence back to life, purifying it from the restyling of about 250 years of history. “Now more than ever it is possible to appreciate its architecture in its original forms, and it is architecture, with its compositional style, that plays the leading role,” Vemworks architects report.
The plan of the building, with its simple layout, is elegant in the lines matching the full neoclassical style – eclectic, with plastered limestone masonry. The main façade on Via Conte Cabrera has an entrance door framed by a trilith of columns with Ionic-style composite capital, embellished with garlands and friezes placed at the foot of the architrave. The portal, the shelves of the balconies and the cornice with the cantonal, together with the porch and the staircase of the courtyard, belong to the first alterations of the original construction dating back to the 1800s while the doors and railings are different and therefore of the sub- sequent invoice of Via Cabrera and Piazza Duomo.
Inside the courtyard, the flooring is in pitchstone and limestone with inlays. In addition to the noble floor facing the square, there is an attic level surrounded by a long railing hiding a motif of small columns. The main entrance hall leads to the old Carretteria and the old warehouses on the north side, now converted into a kitchen, reception room, breakfast room, and lounge area. Crossed the entrance hall- way, you come to a pincer stone staircase with a neoclassical handrail, in the center of which there is an arched portal with the noble coat of arms at the keystone. Going from the hotel reception, we proceed, going up, to the upper level of the noble residence, to which we arrive from the loggia of the staircase. From here you can access the eight rooms on the first floor, including rooms with public connotations, such as the reception room and the spaces for disengagement. “All the rooms have the names of people dear to me,” explains Giusy Donato, director, and owner of the hotel, “the rooms, therefore, become a tribute to the people who have had an influence in my life and who have felt the need to “Represent” with precise choices of furniture, colors, art and finishes. “. Each room contains a work by the Italian pop surrealism artist Max Ferrigno, who, in the representation of the subjects, was inspired by the objects that strongly characterized the characters during their life: “This is Donna Agnese’s ice cream, that is the rifle of Don Nino while those are Don Marco’s glasses ”- continues Giusy. From the corridor of the first floor, an optimally restored internal staircase (on whose walls loom three threatening Sicilian gargoyles that control the entrances of the patrons) leads to the second floor, where two suites have been created (one with a panoramic terrace), both with a privileged view of Piazza Duomo. Wherever possible, it was decided to keep the original flooring, in some rooms and in the common parts the old non-recoverable pitchstone slabs have been replaced with newSicilian cement tiles. In order to bring out the architecture in its purity, even considering the frescoed ceilings and the wide original decorative apparatus, also subject to conservative restoration, a furniture with a strong contrast was chosen, both to avoid the “false history” deriving from the reinterpretation of the period furniture, both to characterize the environments according to the characters to whom they are dedicated. The rooms and common areas of A.D. 1768 were designed to express a precise personality. Play of spaces that are never the same and bold contrasts between the ancient and the contemporary, original frescoes intimately combined with exclusive antiques and designer furniture, vintage colors that blend with the contemporary art pieces present, original floors with geometries very current, everything comes together to recreate the modern memory of a new and exclusive hospitality experience. vemworks.com