When I first met Malcolm Lowell a few years back, we spoke about his vision of thrusting the Casino Maltese in Republic Street, into its next chapter. This traditional gentleman’s club was as majestic as can be, but its tired interiors and shabby rooftop ideas left much room for imagination. Although the scheme never took off, we understood that Valletta’s advancement was an agenda we happily shared.

A few years later, he called me to have a look at a shop in the epicentre of the same street and a few weeks after that we were on our way to the Rolex headquarters in Geneva. Designing a Rolex Boutique meant a tight palette of materials and displays, which needed to come together effortlessly with intense attention to detail. A backlit, wavy, solid-green-resin wall was a standard element in all boutiques: the aquaglass wall. When we proposed to place it on the floor, above a skylight which would shed light to the basement room below, we raised some eyebrows at HQ.

 

Working in such a small space on the main pedestrian street of the capital, came with a set of challenges. Accessibility and bureaucratic hurdles caused daily delays for the construction and management team, who worked day and night in order to achieve such high standards of detail and finish. It was a real pleasure working with all of them. One of those rare moments when client, contractor(s) and architect somehow manage to altogether hit the nail on the head.

 

TEXT    Chris Briffa

IMAGES    Aldo Amoretti

 

Luckily, Rolex liked the novel approach and brightened up our designs for this otherwise dark, underground space. A room intended for the Lowells’ private meetings and rare timepieces, it needed not follow the boutique’s guidelines. So we presented a dreamlike space built of stone and lit by an odd, submarine light – thanks to the aquaglass above. The basement’s walls would contain much needed storage space, while hiding other services such as ACs, a bathroom and presentation facilities.

 

 

 

When I first met Malcolm Lowell a few years back, we spoke about his vision of thrusting the Casino Maltese in Republic Street, into its next chapter. This traditional gentleman’s club was as majestic as can be, but its tired interiors and shabby rooftop ideas left much room for imagination. Although the scheme never took off, we understood that Valletta’s advancement was an agenda we happily shared.

A few years later, he called me to have a look at a shop in the epicentre of the same street and a few weeks after that we were on our way to the Rolex headquarters in Geneva. Designing a Rolex Boutique meant a tight palette of materials and displays, which needed to come together effortlessly with intense attention to detail. A backlit, wavy, solid-green-resin wall was a standard element in all boutiques: the aquaglass wall. When we proposed to place it on the floor, above a skylight which would shed light to the basement room below, we raised some eyebrows at HQ.

Luckily, Rolex liked the novel approach and brightened up our designs for this otherwise dark, underground space. A room intended for the Lowells’ private meetings and rare timepieces, it needed not follow the boutique’s guidelines. So we presented a dreamlike space built of stone and lit by an odd, submarine light – thanks to the aquaglass above. The basement’s walls would contain much needed storage space, while hiding other services such as ACs, a bathroom and presentation facilities.

Working in such a small space on the main pedestrian street of the capital, came with a set of challenges. Accessibility and bureaucratic hurdles caused daily delays for the construction and management team, who worked day and night in order to achieve such high standards of detail and finish. It was a real pleasure working with all of them. One of those rare moments when client, contractor(s) and architect somehow manage to altogether hit the nail on the head.

 

TEXT    Chris Briffa

IMAGES    Aldo Amoretti