Atelier sul Mare art hotel, Sicily

Atelier sul Mare art hotel -

About half way along the Sicily’s North Coast is Cefalu, and just a little further is the tiny village of Castel di Tusa which at first glance has little to offer; a bar emitting pop music and the whiff of a typical café kitchen, a few fishing boats pulled up on the harbour front, a coach of schoolchildren. Except it happens to be home to one of the most extraordinary hotels you are ever likely to check into. Atelier sul Mare is the brainchild of Antonio Presti, who had the insane idea that guests would travel miles off the beaten track to a hotel that allowed you to stay and sleep inside a piece of art.

Atelier sul Mare art hotel -

Sixteen or so of its 40 rooms have been created by an international collection of artists who have been given the freedom to push the boundaries of what constitutes a hotel room to the very limit. We chose the Pasolini Room (also called the Prophet Room) by Dario Bellezza, Adele Camria and Antonio himself. The black metal door is covered with Pier Paolo Pasolini’s poetry, cantilevered so we can knock it down should we want to, and opens into an impossibly narrow, pitch-dark corridor which requires us to turn our wheelie suitcases sideways. The room is large and all walls and ceilings are plastered with straw and mud. It shouldn’t work, but it does! The effect is at first perplexing, then strangely comforting

Read more about Atelier sul Mare on

Atelier sul Mare, via Cesare Battisti 4, 98079 Castel di Tusa, Sicily.
T: +39 0921 334 295 W:

Words & Photos: © Ken Sparkes All Rights Reserved.


How to get your property photographed beautifully

Home styling for the complete novice

You’ve decided to let out your property for short-term holiday rentals while you head for the sunshine, and the agency is sending over a photographer to do some spiffy pics. As a rent-virgin, you are not sure what to expect and perhaps a trifle uneasy about splashing photos of your intimate sanctuary all over the interwebs. However, the success of your rental, and therefore the exoticness of your own holiday, is in direct proportion to the attractiveness of your property, so how to you make the most out of what you’ve got? I’m a partner at posh London agency so I thought some practical guidance would be useful:

Q: By spooky coincidence, we booked your photographer to come on laundry day. Is it okay to leave the house festooned with knickers and damp tracksuit bottoms?
A: No. Unless you have booked a super-model to wear them, please hide all extraneous undergarments and clothing.

Continue reading How to get your property photographed beautifully

Cristina Rodriguez: Industrial Revolution

Cristina Rodriguez, Barcelona: Industrial Revolution

When she first saw this old, derelict textile factory in the centre of Barcelona, interior designer Cristina Rodriguez wasn’t even fazed – she knew that eventually it would be her home, and how right she was…

This was once a buzzing, thriving factory where people came to work day after day to produce fabrics and textiles. The huge space could have been daunting but, instead of feeling negative about it, Cristina plunged into a whirl of ideas and thoughts about how to make this vast area into various living zones without adding partitions or walls.

Continue reading Cristina Rodriguez: Industrial Revolution