Trawling for an alternative place to stay in Turin recently, Du Parc Suites beckoned. A stone’s throw from the city’s favourite public park – Parco del Valentino – on the west bank of the River Po, just about everything about this building and its serviced suites was pretty striking. To start with, it looks nothing like a hotel. The building, all glass and exposed concrete, dates back to the early 1970s, the work of architects Laura Petrazzini and Corrado Levi and a significant example of rationalist architecture in the city. Indoors are bright, open spaces with more exposed concrete, decidedly minimalist. Legendary furniture design pieces from the 60s and early 70s abound, along with expensive artwork (by Richard Woods, Mario Schifano, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Giovanni Anselmo and many more). All this in the public areas and in all 75 elegant suites, ranging from 45 to 120 square metres and fitted with fully-equipped kitchens, a lounge area, and 2 bathrooms in all but the smallest as well as ample bedrooms.
There’s an amazing eastern-style spa and gym area downstairs, all included in the price. And an understated restaurant on the mezzanine floor serves excellent food impeccably. The exciting thing about Du Parc Contemporary Suites is that it also hosts an impressive design-culture project run by the cream of Turin’s architects and designers – first among many Barbara Brondi & Marco Rainò. It’s called IN Residence, and aims to advance contemporary design research with an annual workshop event as well as exhibitions, publications, a web journal and a series of talks. Just read this list: Anton Alvarez, Hilda Hellström, Jean-Baptiste Fastrez, Kolk & Kusters, Jon Stam, Giorgia Zanellato. It’s a Who’s Who of contemporary design! These were the people who conducted the workshop at Du Parc last October. Enough said. My Du Parc experience ended with breakfast with Ale: right at the top of my list of wonderful ways to begin your day!