No. 178 . 21 January 2004 
ArchitectureWeek
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Hotel Tressants in Menorca

by ArchitectureWeek

When Italo Calvino wrote his 1972 novel about magical cities based on places he imagined Marco Polo might have visited, he was probably not thinking specifically of the Spanish island of Menorca (Minorca).

The city of Sophronia is made up of two half-cities. In one there is the great roller coaster with its steep humps, the carousel with its chain spokes, the Ferris wheel of spinning cages, the death-ride with crouching motorcyclists, the big top with the clump of trapezes hanging in the middle. The other half-city is of stone and marble and cement, with the bank, the factories, the palaces, the slaughterhouse, the school, and all the rest. One of the half-cities is permanent, the other is temporary...And so every year the day comes when the workmen remove the marble pediments, lower the stone walls, the cement pylons... — Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

But when Menorquin architect Fernando Pons Vidal and Italian designer Chiara Fabiani conceived a "new" hotel in the renovation of old townhouses on that Mediterranean island, they had Calvino's Invisible Cities foremost in their design imaginations.   >>>

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