The wonderful 1930s


September, 2018

On a journey of discovery of French Art Deco: the Hotel Splendid at Dax has chosen Nobili for its bedrooms and suites.

Dax, located in the region of Aquitaine in the Landes department, is a shining example of outstanding hospitality and well-being. The thermal baths here date back to the arrival of the troops in Roman times; the soldiers found solace and refreshment with what we still know today as hydrotherapy. It took several centuries for the thermal and spa business to flourish. When the railways experienced sudden growth in the nineteenth century the area became a popular destination. Today it is still the main spa destination in France, with 12 resorts visited by over 50,000 people each year. However, the charm of this town does not lie solely in the well-being industry: its Gallo-Roman archaeological heritage, evident in the bastions and the crypt of the town, blends harmoniously with its Gothic cathedrals that echo the more famous Notre Dame in Paris, and with its Art Deco buildings from the last century. All these elements give Dax great personality, making it a unique municipality.

The Hotel Splendid, a gem of Art-Déco architecture restored at the beginning of 2018, is located in the heart of the town. The eclectic and exotic features of Art Déco, an art movement sparked by the 1925 Universal Exhibition in Paris, attracted artists from different disciplines. In architecture this contrasts with another trend - Liberty - that is famous for its sinuous lines and soft evocations of nature, with an energetic yet compact strength of which the distortion of subjects, movement and dynamism are distinguishing traits.

The Splendid Hotel, boasting over 90 years of history, strongly influences the aesthetic appearance of Dax, with a façade of graphic lines accentuated by pristine white. The structure we see today is the result of several restoration projects carried out on the original castle located here in the Middle Ages. Its current appearance, strongly characterized by an Art-Déco style, is essentially the result of a 1928 renovation that made the building the gem it is today. The inauguration took place the following year, attended by extraordinary figures from the arts including Ernest Hemingway. The spirit of the Splendid Hotel has not changed through the years: the key idea was to attract customers from all over the world, and this has produced the deeply cosmopolitan soul that lives on in the building today.

Forty-five years after it first opened a modernization plan was finalized in April 2018. Over 100 professionals took part in a renovation covering 13,500 m², including the hall, the restaurant, the bar and smoking room, the ancient spa and the 149 majestic rooms in which Nobili taps were selected for installation. This thoughtful and rational metamorphosis aimed to preserve the poetic charm of this building, which since 1991 has been included in the inventory of historic monuments precisely due to its outstanding ‘30s architectonic style that is now combined skilfully with with modern furnishing elements. The Mia collection with its clear, squared design reawakens the senses through strict aesthetic choices: the pure, balance among lines shows the mixer’s essential soul perfectly fits into this vision, expressing a harmonious contrast and timeless suggestiveness where past and future meet. The symmetries of this complete product line - provided by its sharp edges and precise surfaces bar machine processed in the futuristic Turning department at the Suno (Novara) plant - evoke the plastic geometries of Art-Déco within the context of a more contemporary design vision.

The astonishing result given is the combination of the multi-disciplinary approach employed by the architectural agency Kapzul in Bordeaux, led by architect Sandrine Forais together with the Bal studio and the interior designer Nathalie Saccu de Franchi. Impressive glass walls in shades of blue evoke the limitless nuances of water, while wide staircases and black and white geometries make visitors feel as if they have just stepped into a fairy tale at Hotel Splendid. Their eyes open wide to admire an Atlantic air and ancient sophistication like in a dream. Its bold architecture, inspired by the legendary Normandie ocean liner, seems to invite escape towards an imaginary horizon.