Designer Valentina Autiero reflects the true spirit of Italy in newest project, Laqua by the Sea

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Architect and interior designer Valentina Autiero emulates the Sorrento evening sun in her considered design of Laqua by the Sea

 words Mairi Mulhern photography Carlo Oriente

Founded by famous chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo and his wife Cinzia, Laqua by the Sea is the latest in a set of four exclusive resorts known as the ‘Laqua Collection’.

Designed by Valentina Autiero to be “refuges for body and soul”, these four resorts sit amongst some of Italy’s most romantic destinations, from the Tuscan hills to the edges of the Sorrento sea.

Developing the vision for Laqua by the Sea

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast. Designed by Valentina Autiero
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

Lead architect and interior designer for Laqua by the Sea, Valentina Autiero, experiments with shape, form and materials to create experiences that nurture wellness and serenity.

The Neopolitan designer’s ultimate goal was to create spaces that aren’t just rooms, but works of art.

The transformational nature of the ocean and the never-ending sky are consistent and vital design inspirations for Valentina – and the perfect match for the Cannavacciuolo’s vision.

Characterising the space

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

Designed to mirror the warmth and shimmer of a coastal sunset in Sorrento, Laqua by the Sea’s interior is characterised by deep tones of ochre, terracotta and marine blue.

It was important to Valentina and the Laqua by the Sea team to include nods to the culture of the region. Traditional art pieces from local makers are laced throughout the resort, bridging the gap between luxury living and age-old culture.

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

Visual interest is created with padded and upholstered wainscoting on lower walls, featuring elegantly curved silhouettes and palettes or orange and red.

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast. Designed by Designed by Valentina Autiero
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

A decorative metal structure is mounted on the wall opposite the bed, bringing additional interest through its geometric, slightly irregular design. A selection of clay sculptures hang from the structure, each handcrafted by the Cannavacciuolo family using traditional practices of the Campania region.

Refining the layout

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

Creating depth was key for Valentina. The designer used careful zoning to create a multi-dimensional layout, placing sweeping arched patricians and glass throughout the room to separate living, sleeping, lounging and self-care areas.

A full-height glazed partition in the main bedroom works with lighter velvet textures on the bed frame to create interest in a room that could otherwise appear a little moody.

A series of monolithic sculptural features made with seductive Persian red travertine offset the more refined structural silhouettes, adding some playful visual relief.

The bed is the room’s vantage point, located at the far end of the space next to the window for uninterrupted views of the coastline and beyond the horizon to the gulf of Naples.

Making the most of lighting

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast. Designed by Valentina Autiero
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

Valentina plays with the lines of perspective, using unique objects, materials and surfaces to channel natural light into unexpected areas of the room.

Free-standing lamps and wall-mounted spotlights sit in corners unreachable by the sun, all using warm white bulbs to mimic golden hour and enhance the serenity of the room.

Enhancing wellness with water

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

A focus on wellbeing comes in the spaces that, as Valentina explains, are “dedicated to elemental water and personal care”.

In the rooms, washing areas are brighter, featuring wet-room layouts with polished stone floors and matching frameless shower panels.

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

In the resort’s communal spa, showers, external whirlpool tubs and free-standing glazed stone basins are carefully placed to encourage visitors to take time for themselves and nurture their physical wellbeing.

Laqua by the Sea resort in Sorrento, Italy. Holiday off the Gulf of Naples. Wellness getaway on the Italian coast. Designed by Valentina Autiero
IMAGE | Carlo Oriente

Plunge pools are built into the hillside, framed by mountain rocks and lined with mosaics in calming hues of ocean blue and sandy white.

Each moment spent at Laqua by the Sea is a celebration of the calming connection between human and sea; a delightful opportunity to leave the tedium of the everyday and indulge in the luxury of a well-designed space.

Follow Valentina Autiero on Instagram


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