Situated just above the UNESCO World Heritage site of Dubrovnik’s old town, the hotel was originally built in the 1890s and went on to serve the great Mediterranean cruise liners docking in the city. Originally named ‘The Grand Hotel Imperial’ and Dubrovnik’s first modern hotel, it became an immediate hit, with a French Riviera feel and the glamorous cachet of an international clientele. Drawing inspiration from the romance of the hotel’s former glories, the new scheme sought to re-inject golden age glamour into one of Europe’s most historic hotels.

The main challenge was working with the existing architectural elements of the building and incorporating this into the lighting design, as well as creating a balance between the abundance of natural lighting coming through the building’s large arched windows during the day. The ingress of natural light is balanced with antiqued mirror panels and a contemporary palette of whites, blue and greys to create a light and airy feel throughout, whilst capturing the city’s relaxed seaside atmosphere. Standout bespoke light fittings meanwhile create a sense of arrival and grandeur that evokes the hotel’s glamorous heritage.

Upon entering the hotel, double-height walls and large arched windows create a medieval feel that provided inspiration for the reception’s spectacular lighting feature, made up of eleven globe-shaped antiqued brass pendants hanging from chains. Spanning both the reception and seating area, the chandelier connects the height of the ceiling with the lower levels, helping to unify the large interior space. Architectural lighting is minimal and discrete, providing good functional light as well as highlighting key features, for example a large triptych of artworks behind the reception desk. Low-level lighting is integrated within the joinery and combined with decorative wall and table lights to create a warm and welcoming space for guests on arrival.

Leading off from the ground floor corridor is the new Imperial Bar & Lounge, accessed via a series of antiqued mirror archways that are uplit from below. A stunning chandelier immediately catches the eye, inspired by 1950s floral bathing caps and features cascading porcelain petal shapes set on a brass framework. Mini recessed downlights cast a soft glow on the drapery, accompanied by decorative wall lights with ribbed, cylindrical glass surrounds, identical to those in the reception.

Located at the far end is the bar, which is demarcated by an illuminated brass screen, housing a second triptych of artworks depicting the colours of the Dalmatian Coast and features multiple layers of integrated lighting that has been carefully coordinated into the shelving.  Here, a second, stand-out brass chandelier features spherical glass shades that captures the bar’s pronounced deco feel and is contrasted against a dramatic blue ceiling to create a moodier, evening atmosphere. Pared back lighting brings attention to the bar itself, which comes to life through back-lit ribbed panels on the rear bar wall creating a stunning illuminated effect and enhanced by uplights in the perimeter panelling. Soft spotlights meanwhile line the mosaic bar front and highlight the bar’s intricate brass detailing.