Arqsix Case Study|Behind the Scenes: Interview with Our Project Manager on the Marbella Project

Behind the Scenes: Interview with Our Project Manager on the Marbella Project

Behind the Scenes: Interview with Our Project Manager on the Marbella Project


June 3rd, 2024

As you may already know, the Marbella project was the baby of our team, as it had a little bit of everything and we all had our favorite bits. Today however, we want to take you behind the scenes and talk about the parts that don’t typically get mentioned in the architectural visualization space.

So, we invited our project manager, Bensu Kılcı, for a casual interview, where we focused on her perspective of the project. She has an education in architecture, as well as plenty of experience. Here we will cover all areas of Marbella, along with the difficulties our team had and the conclusions we came to and the end of the project.

Q: What was the crux of this project?

Bensu: Marbella is actually part of a bigger project, the Heart of Europe Islands. Each island represents a different city in Europe, and Marbella was selected for its sunny vibe and cultural richness. The project includes Puerto Banús, a famous port and tourist attraction, recreated to capture its real-life charm. The hotel embodies Spanish culture, showcasing flamenco dancers, Spanish cuisine, and the overall vibrant Spanish atmosphere.

The interiors were quite dynamic and evolved significantly over time. Initially, the design concepts weren't fully developed, which gave us the opportunity to play a substantial role in shaping the final vision. Usually, we don’t get involved in the design choices, but this time around it was necessary. We aimed to create interiors that felt authentically Spanish, incorporating travertine stone and archways to evoke traditional architecture. The ceilings were a particular focus, instead of being flat, they are tilted to enhance the arch features, adding a unique architectural element to the rooms.

We used warm colors throughout to create an inviting atmosphere. The suites, including the king, executive, and king deluxe, each offer magnificent ocean views. The executive suite, for instance, has separate living areas, one more private and the other semi-public, providing flexibility for different uses. The decor in each room includes paintings from a collection tied to Spanish culture, reinforcing the thematic unity. Additionally, moving elements act as curtains, adding a dynamic, almost theatrical element to the spaces.

Q: What about the public spaces, like the restaurant and the spa?

Bensu: The public spaces were designed to be as inviting and unique as the private ones. The restaurant on the ground floor, located by the pool, stands out with its distinctive architecture. The ceiling design is particularly unique, aiming to create a story with its structure and elements. We wanted to evoke a calm, sunset-like ambiance, using shading and moving elements to enhance the mood. The furniture is almost vintage, contributing to a serene, timeless feel.

One of the highlights is the dance floor, which is used for flamenco performances, bringing an authentic Spanish experience to the guests. The spa area also continues the theme of dynamic design, with moving ceilings and separators that add a sense of fluidity and tranquility to the space. Although the image of the spa wasn't shared, the concept focused on creating a relaxing, yet visually stimulating environment. I loved this part of the project, the concept design really stood out to me.

Q: Can you tell us more about the rooftop terrace?

Bensu: The rooftop terrace on the top floor is one of the most exclusive areas of the project. It features an infinity pool and a garden terrace, offering stunning views and a calm escape from the bustling activity below. The design includes plenty of greenery, with trees and other plants creating a lush environment. This area was intended to be a focal point of luxury and relaxation, providing guests with an exclusive retreat.

It also evolved a lot over the time, as the furniture placement changed, along with the greenery.

Q: What did you find most challenging about this project?

Bensu: The communication process was one of the major challenges.. This meant that our discussion went down on different channels, with lots of people involved and as you can probably guess, this led to a world of confusion. We take full responsibility for this, as we know that we could’ve done better in certain aspects. However, we came up with our current collaboration board because of it, which means we won’t have issues like this going forward. There is always a silver lining.

However, the sheer scale of the project also meant many design elements were incomplete when we began. We had to step in early and take on a larger role in shaping the overall vision. The exclusivity and luxury of the project also demanded meticulous attention to detail. Finding the perfect materials and stock footage that matched our vision was difficult, and integrating stock and animation involved numerous revisions. At one point, there were 46 comments on a single concept animation draft, isn’t that crazy? Also, there was a point where we changed the music, which meant altering the video to match the rhythm. But despite these challenges, it was all worth it in the end. I’m very proud of what the final product looked like.

Q: If you had to redo this project with free rein, what would you change?

Bensu: I would definitely use our new collaboration board to ensure more seamless feedback and communication. It’s only been in place for a little bit, but we can already clearly see just how much it helps the discussion.

I would also redesign the rooftop terrace to incorporate more greenery and consider different materials for the wooden deck. These changes would enhance the overall aesthetic and functionality of the space, making it even more appealing and cohesive with the rest of the project, in my opinion.

Q: What did you like most about the project overall?

Bensu: What I really loved about this project was how we managed to capture Marbella's essence without relying on obvious symbols like the Spanish flag or flamenco skirts. Instead, we used subtler elements like flowers, shades, materials, and landscaping to convey the city's vibrant atmosphere. The bougainvillea flowers, native to the region, added an authentic touch to the facade, and the moving elements mimicked the dynamic motion of a flamenco dancer's skirt. These details brought the building to life, making it feel like an integral part of Marbella rather than a mere imitation.

It was especially satisfying to see how all these elements came together to create a cohesive and immersive design. Every detail, from the unique ceiling designs in the public spaces to the warm, inviting interiors, contributed to an overall experience that truly reflects Marbella's spirit. This project was a great mix of cultural symbolism and innovative design, resulting in a unique, luxurious destination. Seeing our vision come to life and being able to share Marbella's cultural richness in such an elegant way was incredibly rewarding.

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