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Photo: Amit Geron © The Jaffa

Sacred Roots

John Pawson bridges the gap between tradition and modernity at the hotel "The Jaffa" in Tel Aviv.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 9/26/2018

Once a suburb of the ancient port city of Jaffa, Tel Aviv has now developed into the third largest economic metropolis in the Middle East. Tradition and modernity go hand in hand here, the courage to change is omnipresent. The hotel "The Jaffa" shows that the transformation is also possible with a connection to the roots. Used in the 19th century as a monastery school and supplemented by an extension, it needed a special feeling for colours and fabrics to celebrate the diversity of architectural styles and at the same time set new accents. Aby Rosen, founder of RFR Holding and owner of "The Jaffa", chose British designer John Pawson for this task. Known for his minimalist works, he focused unusually strongly on a high-contrast mixture of form and colour in view of the many tendencies in the two buildings: in the lobby, Shiro Kuramata's linear tubular steel armchairs shine in rich orange, while the playful "Botolo" chairs with velvet covers in mustard yellow, blue and rosé by Cini Boeri populate the chapel. In the suites, the voluminous Pierre Paulin "Elysee" armchairs meet the filigree side tables "Habibi" by E15. The wooden chairs by Niels Otto Møller and Thonet in the hotel's restaurant are a classic.

"The Jaffa" accommodates a total of 120 rooms, as well as numerous common areas such as the greened inner courtyard or the lounge in the lobby. Pawson designed backgammon tables especially for this purpose, paying homage to the traditional game of merchants in the markets of the old town. In addition to the restored elements such as the stucco, the vaulted ceilings and the stained glass windows, archaeological structures have also been preserved: Parts of the former walls of the 12th century Crusader Castle are visible in the hotel. In the overall picture, "The Jaffa" shows itself as a sacred place with fine modern features. With the strong presence of natural stone, vaulted colonnades and many niches, the hotel offers a quiet atmosphere in the middle of the lively Mediterranean city, in which you can linger wonderfully with a view over the nearby harbour. 

Photo: Amit Geron © The Jaffa
Photo: Amit Geron © The Jaffa
Photo: Amit Geron © The Jaffa
Photo: Amit Geron © The Jaffa
Photo: Amit Geron © The Jaffa

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