Capofaro – Locanda & Malvasia resort/

MAB Arquitectura


Project Details



Salina Island, Messina / Italy



Year (Design/Construction):

- / 2018

Area (Net/Gross):

- / 1920 m2
Operational Carbon emissions

Operational Carbon emissions (B6) kgCO2e/m2/y:

Embodied Carbon emissions

Embodied Carbon emissions (A1-A3) kgCO2e/m2:

  • Reuse of derelict lighthouse complex built in the XIX Century
  • Most of the existing elements of the existing building were maintained
  • Use of local materials for the new finishes and furniture
  • Dry stone walls and volcanic gravel on the footpaths are the main features of the landscape

By the sea in the unspoilt Sicilian nature, a nineteenth-century lighthouse has been renovated  by MAB Arquitectura to create six suites with essential style.

In the island of Salina, the Italian studio recuperated traditional workmanship and materials to preserve the  memory and charm of a unique place. The design of six suites, an extension of “Capofaro Locanda & Malvasia” (part of the Relais & Châteaux collection), merges top-level hospitality with an extraordinary landscape 

Salina, Italy | An architecture that belongs to a landscape of sea, unspoilt nature, peace and quiet. A project that not only safeguards the territory, but also recovers and redevelops a piece of public  heritage, part of the transformation of a place of great value in terms of landscape, history and  culture. In the heart of the island of Salina, Sicily, on a windswept promontory that drops straight  down into the blue waters of the Mediterranean, the project by MAB Arquitectura for architectural  restoration and interior design of the ancient Capofaro lighthouse complex gave shape to six suites  in the long-since abandoned, evocative spaces that were once the lighthouse keeper’s quarters.

Thanks to a restoration embracing a philological approach that has reconnected the property to its  authentic roots and memory, MAB Arquitectura, the firm led by architects Floriana Marotta and  Massimo Basile, won a special mention at the 2023 In/Arch Awards in the Reuse/Restoration  category.

The suites and island-mood decor: the poetry of “less is more” 

Created in the main building of this lighthouse built at the end of the 19th century, the suites, silent  and secluded in their unassuming luxury, are an extension of the adjacent “Capofaro Locanda &  Malvasia”, an old vineyard transformed into a refined wine resort by the Tasca D’Almerita family  and now part of the Relais&Châteaux collection. The MAB Arquitectura project for redistribution  and restyling of the interiors was all about minimalism and understatement and it has preserved  some interesting elements such as the barrel-vaulted ceilings and the spiral staircase up to the  lantern, originally positioned on the roof of the keeper’s quarters. Measuring either 30 or 50 square metres, the suites all have private gardens and separate entrances, while the largest, measuring 80  square metres, in the middle of the complex, is on two levels. It has windows front and back and a  panoramic terrace offering breathtaking views of the sea, vineyards, vegetable plots and gardens.

For the interior design, MAB Arquitectura opted for the sober functional character of traditional  Aeolian architecture for the custom-made furniture, choice of local materials, furnishings, and  fabrics. The interior palette borrows its colours from the surrounding nature: warm and reassuring  earthy tones such as brown, sand, white, and beige, are juxtaposed with touches of sea blue.

Microcement floors, white lime walls, masonry and wooden furnishings, limestone washbasins,  cement tiles in the bathrooms handcrafted by a historic company in Santa Flavia to the architects’  design: all elements that define a concept of luxury that is cultured rather than contrived. “In  surroundings that are so impressively natural and so steeped in suggestive power, we followed the  poetry of “less is more” for the interiors, designing each detail with great care but no added frills.  We wanted to define each room with an elegance and minimalism to render the idea of refined,  understated luxury, of time passing slowly, in the beauty of simple things,” explains architect  Floriana Marotta.


The exteriors: recovery and enhancement of the historic lighthouse complex 

Still in use today, the lighthouse is slightly set back from the main body of the Capofaro Locanda &  Malvasia Estate and it looks out over the splendour of the Aeolian sea like a natural terrace,  watching over sailors with its light and iconic image. The MAB Arquitectura project for the outdoor  spaces also respects the memory of this place, with recognition of the architectural, historical,  landscape, and cultural value of the complex, a true example of the industrial archaeology of  navigation. It has been renovated with a philological approach that first saw structural consolidation  of the vaults, renovation of the weather- and salt-worn tufa ashlars on the façade, and of the  cornices and sills, and then replastering for the lime façade in line with Aeolian tradition.

Architects Floriana Marotta and Massimo Basile also landscaped the area around the lighthouse  and, choosing to enhance the genius loci, they drew on this island’s riches, creating dry stone walls  and paths in local volcanic gravel, with bamboo dividers on slender structures providing discreet shade for the private gardens of the suites.

The landscape design saw the creation of a small botanical museum in different locations, featuring the main Mediterranean maquis plants and autochthonous species found on the island of Salina, to  ensure an emotional cognitive experience for hotel guests.

Sinuous paths wind through the vegetation, allowing visitors to explore themed islands of typical  Mediterranean shrubs such as capers, myrtle, broom, lavender and strawberry trees, olives, laurel  hedges and mastic trees, as well as prickly pears, rosemary, agave, and bougainvillea. A small  adjoining building has been turned into a Micro Museum of Malvasia, a multimedia space housing

videos and infographic panels that illustrate a series of themes closely linked to the island’s territory  and history. A holiday experience that unfolds gradually, in a place where guests can let go and find  their real selves.

The redevelopment of lighthouses represents true regeneration of places with a fascinating past,  which sees the heritage of a few finally becoming a shared legacy, as well as an important driver for local economic growth. The Capofaro restoration project is part of the ‘Valore Paese Italia Fari’ project, a plan to enhance the value of public real estate promoted by Difesa Servizi S.p.A. and  Agenzia del Demanio (the agency for state-owned property), which consists in giving rooms inside  lighthouses in concession to private individuals, to ensure their protection and restoration, while  simultaneously promoting the local economy.


  • Client: Capo Faro srl
  • Architectural, interior and landscape design: MAB Arquitectura
  • Project management: Studio Antonio Podetti
  • Contractor: Vitruvio + Impresa Di Pane Costruzioni
  • Prizes: Mention of the In/Arch 2023 award for the category Reuse/Restoration
  • Photo and video: Alberto Moncada


MAB Arquitectura 

MAB Arquitectura is an architectural firm founded in Barcelona in 2004 by architects Floriana Marotta and  Massimo Basile, based in Milan since 2014. Thanks to important professional experiences in both Paris and  Barcelona, the two partners have consolidated a multidisciplinary approach to design that integrates urban  planning, architecture, and landscape.

Winner of numerous prizes and awards, including two national IN/ARCH  prizes, in terms of large-scale architecture, MAB designs urban masterplans, implementation plans, projects for  public spaces, and redevelopment proposals for historic sites or brownfield regeneration, and also works on residential building projects and socio-cultural services. Its most significant projects in Milan include the  residential and co-living complex in Via Moneta, the Redo-Merezzate residential district in Rogoredo Santa  Giulia, the Social Housing project and public park in Via Gallarate, the Piranesi 44 and Leone XII Iresidential  complexes, and in Paris, the Patronage Laïque-Centre Culturelle and social housing.

Urban redevelopment  projects include the Reggiolo Parish complex, the conversion of the Capofaro Lighthouse on the island of Salina  into a 5-star Relais Chateux Hotel, the Tasca d’Almerita Liberty villa in Mondello and restoration of the Palmento  di Tascante on Etna. Work in progress in Milan includes the new R8 Inspire-UpTown lot in Cascina Merlata,  redevelopment of the Rogoredo railway yard and urban regeneration of the former Taliedo warehouses, as well as the brownfield transformation in Settimo Milanese and the Smart District Milano4You in Segrate.


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