DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for restoring historical building in Malta

DAAA Haus wins laurel for turning a 16th century structure into luxury hotel, Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour, a space that juxtaposes the old with new in the city of Senglea.

by STIRworld Published on : May 21, 2020

DAAA Haus has won the German Design Award 2020 under the category ‘Excellence in Interior Architecture’ for its project Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour, a hotel in Senglea, Malta. A 16th century Maltese landmark was transformed into a luxury hotel in 2017, with the project drawing inspiration from the history of the building. Today, Cugó Gran Macina is an embodiment of taste, quality and luxury, and reflects the lifestyle of the guests visiting the ultra-luxury suites.

While bestowing the honour upon Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour, the jury described the hotel as: “Carefully integrated into the walls of the historic port city, the hotel interior looks extremely modern and forms an exciting contrast to the existing buildings. The tasteful furnishings offer a luxurious standard that promises a high-quality stay.”

The German Design Award by German Design Council is one of the most widely recognised international design awards, honouring studios and designers contributing in the field of product and communications design through their project.

  • DAAA Haus designed luxury hotel is in a renovated 16th-century building on the regenerated waterfront, set against towering fortress walls | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    DAAA Haus designed luxury hotel is in a renovated 16th-century building on the regenerated waterfront, set against towering fortress walls Image Credit: Elsa Allen; Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • Model of the Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Model of the Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus

The luxury hotel is the flagship project of DAAA (design, art and architecture associates) Haus, which was founded by Keith Pillow in 2009, and at present has offices in Milan, Malta, Ragusa and Mumbai. Late last year, the studio celebrated its 10th anniversary by throwing a huge party on the terrace of the Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour, and through a series of workshops, design talks, and an exhibition that had artisanal carpets designed by the studio and handmade in India.

  • Macina Grand Harbour Suite Kitchenette and Lounge from main door | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Macina Grand Harbour Suite Kitchenette and Lounge from main door Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • A room overlooking the harbour | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    A room overlooking the harbour Image Credit: Elsa Alle, Courtesy of DAAA Haus

Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour offers 21 spacious suites (ranging from 40 sqm to an impressive 130 sqm), with high vaulted ceilings, hand-picked designer pieces and an unobstructed view of the harbour and surrounding marina. For the seafront fortified building, whose modern image protects and enriches the historic structure, DAAA Haus made sure the use of contemporary natural slate is in stark contrast to the chalk white walls and limestone throughout the building.

  • Cugó Gran Macina before it turned into a luxury hotel | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Cugó Gran Macina before it turned into a luxury hotel Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • A vaulted ceiling | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    A vaulted ceiling Image Credit: Aleksandar Gligic; Courtesy of DAAA Haus

While converting the old building into a new avatar, architect Edwin Mintoff combined the sprawling views with discreet privacy, and the hotel’s large common areas along with the high vaulted ceilings let plenty of daylight to highlight the property’s minimalistic and welcoming design.

  • The iconic lift | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    The iconic lift Image Credit: Elsa Alle; Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • Fortress Suite Bathroom | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Fortress Suite Bathroom Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus

The multi-disciplinary architecture and design studio married natural and traditional materials with modern clean lines to create a contrast between design that is old and of historic value with the new details. The design team at DAAA Haus also indulged in innovative use of tufted wool rugs, Scandinavian pieces and bespoke Italian sofas and beds. The designers created custom furniture for every space in the hotel that was later refined by local craftsmen.

Bathrooms in the expansive suites are covered in contemporary natural slate, and comprise large walk-in shower space, vanity area in marble, and separate spaces for dressing and wardrobe. Large vaulted spaces with arches, mezzanines float above huge custom bathrooms and historical industrial features from Macina’s former life as a 16th century ship repair building is visible everywhere.

  • The staircase | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    The staircase Image Credit: Elsa Allen; Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • Taste, quality and luxury define this grand hotel | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Taste, quality and luxury define this grand hotel Image Credit: Aleksandar Gligic, Courtesy of DAAA Haus

Vaulted ceilings, that have been a popular architectural element for centuries, can be found in all rooms of the international retreat. Other striking aspects of the property are the vertical connections that link all levels of the Cugò Gran Macina, an iconic lift and the internal main staircase both located in the heart of the building.

The modern materials used against traditional Maltese limestone, create a beautiful contrast. Going up the lift or through the spectacular stairwell is part of the experience for the guest as there are iconic views of the surrounding architectural features.

DAAA Haus has also incorporated in its design rich materials such as lacquered raw steel, lava stone, limed oak, Carrara marble, slate, Maltese hard stone, and custom tinted glass.

The pool on the building’s roof | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
The pool on the building’s roof Image Credit: Elsa Alle; Courtesy of DAAA Haus

Designing a modern contemporary hotel space in the unique Macina building called for a strong palette of raw natural materials and huge respect for the building. To enhance the picturesque harbour views from the rooms, thin metal framed windows were introduced. These openings provide unhindered view of the harbour while adding a unique architectural identity from outside.

Other amenities at the Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour include a swimming pool on the roof of the building with a terrace, offering relaxation while you look out across the water to Vittoriosa and Cospicua; a fully-fledged bar, a fine dining modern Mediterranean restaurant, an events rooftop with picturesque harbour views and a boardroom for small conferences.

DAAA Haus has made an exemplary attempt to create a luxury environment with minimal design through the use of neutral palette of slate greys and earthy marble along with high quality materials that speak volumes and effortlessly ooze elegance and luxury at all times. 

  • Layout plan | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Layout plan Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • Room elevations | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Room elevations Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • Staircase | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Staircase Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • Exploded Axonometric View of Plans | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Exploded Axonometric View of Plans Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus
  • Macina Window detail | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
    Macina Window detail Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus

Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour is a destination for visitors seeking new-world charm inside the historical and walled city of Senglea. Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea are the “three cities” regarded as the birthplace of Maltese culture and they played an important part in the 16th century when the Order of Saint John built an extensive system of fortifications as a protection from invaders.

The hotel’s signage | DAAA Haus wins German Design Award 2020 for Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour | STIRworld
The hotel’s signage Image Credit: Courtesy of DAAA Haus

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