Santiago, the capital of Chile, is the country’s largest city; it is modern, lively, surrounded by hills and two majestic mountain ranges, which wrap it in an enveloping embrace. The nearly seven million inhabitants of this cosmopolitan metropolis, an emblem of bygone colonial splendor and at the same time a center of modern architecture, have to come to grips on a daily basis with the failure of the wind to purify the atmosphere, leading to a nearly constant problem of air pollution.
The need to solve this problem, together with the desire to create a gathering place for inhabitants and visitors to the city, have dictated the concept of the Nodo Hotel. The name suggests its function as a node, a crossroads of different functions and possibilities: the first “urban explorer” hotel in Santiago, a starting point for those who want to explore the city, but at the same time a place in which to carry out various functions. Nodo is not just a hotel, with guestrooms from the fourth floor up. It is also a place in which public spaces allow people to meet, work, take a break, all fundamental factors of its essence.
Nodo Hotel is something more, a project that makes environmental sustainability into a true mission: designed by the firm Oarquitectos, specializing in sustainable design, in collaboration with NAD – the Institute of Neuroarchitecture and Design of Chile – it incorporates the principles of biophilia and circadian rhythms, along with a focus on sound and the psychology of color, to generate a space built around absence of stress, in a spirit of synchronicity and harmony.
The result of this research is a building that not only represents the typical landscape aesthetic of Chile, but is also capable of preserving and defending it, thanks to the choices made for the façade. Its surface of about 2300 sqm has been entirely covered in slabs treated with a modern bioactive technology, which when bathed in sunlight act like trees, contributing to purify the air in the vicinity. The equivalent of a forest of 1.5 hectares in the center of the city, which releases oxygen and plays an active part in reducing pollution. And the low environmental impact of the structure is not produced just by the façade: the window and the material utilized to insulate the surfaces create an extremely efficient thermal solution to prevent heat loss. The use of non-renewable energy sources has been reduced thanks to the presence of a climate control system based on heat pumps, optimized through subdivision of the levels that makes overall energy consumption equal to one fourth of that of a traditional building. The internal rooms have also been built to fully comply with LEED criteria; outside, there are recharge stations for electric cars, and guests can take advantage of a fleet of electric bicycles.
Design plays a fundamental role in the entire project. The selection of furnishings, strictly Made in Italy, sets out to emphasize and incorporate iconic international design creations, and to give the hotel an essential, contemporary and innovative footprint. The architects, assisted in this operation by the dealer Oficio Mondo, explain: “We wanted to take this Latin American capital closer to the spirit of the world’s leading cities, using the powerful, universal language of design. This is why we have selected furniture from the world’s most important companies.”
In this context, the Arper collections involved in the project – the Saya, Aava, Cila and Catifa seating, the Nuur table and the Loop modular sofa system – bring lightness and color to the communal areas of the building.
“We chose Arper for the design of its furnishings; the company and its approach to décor and sustainability perfectly reflect what we wanted to communicate,” says the architect Pablo Redondo. Again in this case, the name of the hotel corresponds precisely to the approach that has been applied: as in a node, everything is perfectly intertwined to convey a shared concept based on aesthetic research, design and sustainability.
Architect: Stein-Suazo Architects
Interior Design: Oarquitectos
Photo: Juan Francisco Vargas
Arper products: Aava, Cila, Loop, Nuur, Saya