Entrenched in history, Senglea’s iconic Maċina Bastion is in the final stages of restoration and renovation. Next month, it will come back to life as Cugó Gran – Maċina Grand Harbour luxury accommodation. Following weeks of preparation, creative lighting installations have now transformed the historical Maċina building’s façade into a page of luminous history by using new LED lighting technology in a design concept highlighting the timeless prestige of this historic architectural structure.
For centuries, since it was built in 1554 during the reign of Grand Master Claude de la Sengle, the Sheer Bastion has been one of Malta’s Grand Harbour’s iconic landmarks. Maċina derived its name from the large sheer crane structure (‘macchina’ in Italian), used to hoist masts and other heavy cargo. This structure was eventually dismantled in 1864.
Now, once again, the Maċina is set to become a landmark of a different class: a luxury accommodation in a standout building that will be a showpiece within the Cottonera Regeneration Project. Opening its doors in the coming weeks, the Cugó Gran – Macina, Grand Harbour will be under the dedicated management of IBB Hotel Collection.
Today’s LED technology serves to achieve the desired results as these aspects were not possible before with conventional lighting.
Lighting up a building is easy, but the big challenge is to light up a building while respecting the architectural features, the colour of stone, the surrounding environment and using the darkness of the night to help. Just enough light was used to accentuate certain features while blending other areas with enough light to just show the formation of the building. Therefore, using darkness and shadows, they help bring the building to life as it is not seen during the day.
Lighting historical buildings involves the challenge of achieving a fine balance between showing the historical fabric without floodlighting it, while revealing the features without dramatising them. The result is a blend of highlighted areas with uplighters, complemented with soft flood lighting around. Warm white light colour also serves to bring out the beautiful stone colour.
The other aspect of this lighting project was to bring out the modern part of the Maċina called the Annex. This had to be done in a subtle way to preserve its historical status. The new architectural design of the windows, having a steel frame around, helped in laying down the ideal concept which was to illuminate the perimeter of the steel window boxes.
Asked about the potential of the property, IBB Hotel Collection CEO Vladimir Saal, said: “Our Cugó Gran – Maċina Grand Harbour in Malta enjoys an unrivalled historic location. The splendid and beautiful façade lighting will be an additional welcoming feature for the most discerning traveller looking for a memorable experience, while presenting in the best of ways a long forgotten architectural jewel in Malta’s Grand Harbour.”
IBB Hotel Collection is a subsidiary of Von der Heyden Group, a developer and investor based in Malta. Currently operating 11 hotels in Germany, Poland and Spain, the group has ambitious growth plans for the upcoming years. The next openings are expected in Malta at the Grand Harbour with a bespoke boutique hotel under the brand name of Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour (member of Design Hotels) and in Gdansk (Poland), where the group is currently constructing an own asset under the brand of IBB Hotel Dlugi Targ in the historic city centre.
IBB operates hotels under lease, management and franchise contracts in prime and secondary locations with three different own brands: IBB Hotel, IBB Blue Hotel and Cugó Gran.