In the white city of Old Belgrade, near the banks of the River Sava, GRAFT transformed the historic building of the “Old Mill” into a 4-star hotel. The ambitious interior concept embraces the existing historical structure and enhances it with new materials, colors and shapes, bringing out its original qualities and creating a unique visual experience.
The main entrance to the hotel, with the lobby and reception, bar and restaurant, are located in the existing building complex. The new high-rise additions house the hotel rooms and suites, as well as the spa, fitness and service areas.
Visitors arrives via a new, slightly raised plaza with old granite paving and wrought iron columns rescued from the Old Mill. A new water feature neutralises traffic noise. The lobby has an airy, authentic industrial atmosphere, and reclaimed, cleaned and repaired materials have been used from the historical building. The backdrop behind the reception is made of old machinery from the mill. Natural materials, such as oak and copper, that refer to the history of the site are used but have been transferred into a new, modern architectural language. Structurally necessary concrete incisions were kept rough to complement the overall industrial feel. These different materials and functions are set against a giant white structure that defines the overall space and acts as a foil, bringing out the age and qualities of the different materials.
The public, raw atmosphere of the public areas of the Old Mill gradually transition into a more private and soft environment in the guest rooms. Metal and stone are replaced by wood and textiles, creating a comfortable, cosy atmosphere. The concrete structure is left exposed as a reminder of the building’s industrial heritage, but layered with a wall painting that subtly alludes to the building’s history and interior, inviting visitors to engage with the location. The rooms feature large low windows, customized seating and have open, bright bathrooms.
In total, there are 236 guest rooms and 14 suites with balconies on the top floors. The Old Mill building also contains a conference centre with four meeting rooms, a large banquet hall and an exclusive business lounge on the top of the landmark building.
The overall concept of re-contextualization fuses local heritage and contemporary interior design into a single whole, grafting old and new allowing the spirit of the Old Mill to lives on in modern attire and creating a new local landmark in the city.