Dar HI by Matali Crasset

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Image Courtesy © Hi Life

The dialogue and collaboration between Philippe Chapelet, Patrick Elouarghi and Matali Crasset started in 2005. They all decided to push the contemporary experience a bit further with Dar HI a new concept of hospitality and serenity.

They all have a common interest always to question their ideas and the desire to conceive innovative projects; those are the main reasons why their collaboration is so dynamic. Matali Crasset develops a design that is meant to be practical and believes in initiatives that have a sense locally but also collectively. Patrick and Philippe are creative entrepreneurs that are always ahead of their time. They are driven by the renewal of propositions, the reinvention of codes and sites and the research on contemporary hotel industry and well being.

These strong set views unite them for an intransient length of time. After Nice and the HI hotel, Paris and the HIMATIC, it is now Tunisia with Dar HI.

Dar HI is not only another project. “The HI Hotel wasn’t meant to be duplicated: it has been conceived as a laboratory that is not duplicable”, says Matali. The Dar HI project is articulated around notions of well being and eco-retreat in an unexpected and magical site. “Dar HI is not a hotel nor a classical SPA but more a place where you can experience withdrawal and benefit from a spiritual thalassotherapy a few hours away from Paris and in the middle of the desert”, explains Patrick Elouarghi.

The DARHI team has created privileged relationships with the inhabitants of the village who will be taking care of the house. The gardeners will till the garden that will be the main source of vegetables and fruits. The cooks will propose a variety of local and simple dishes. No high gastronomy nor imported products, even less so called authentic cuisine for tourists, but a self sufficient and local development approach. Here artificial folklore is not necessary.

To access the Dar HI you walk towards it and this is the beginning of your stay. The car has been left further from the house. A discreet door leads you to imagine that you walk in a private house. The entrance, a corridor, a ramp is the last stop where you leave your “codes” at the exterior. You take off your shoes and wear babouches (Tunisian slippers). You are at home.

As you can find in the traditional foundouks, Dar HI is a house in which the stays are prolonged, at the opposite of short stay tourism. The organisation of the areas favours the different possibilities to either share moment with other people or to be in a calm retired place to rest. The guests can do as they please according to their wish.

Ecology and sustainable development are the foundations of Dar HI’s project. The date grove is a local gem, in a fragile environment that has to be preserved and renovated. The renovation has started with a great development financed by the Albert de Monaco Foundation. Dar HI is committed in the same preservation and development of the oasis. A research laboratory will be in Dar HI to find news ways and techniques to use the palm tree and the dates.

Within the oasis there is a shadowed shelter, a log cabin with minimal comfort, a vegetable garden. The oasis and the vegetable garden will be used by Dar HI. Being in the desert, the question of water supply is therefore decisive. The water arriving In Nefta comes from a warm source and supplies Dar HI for the hammam and the pool. This water is also present in small ditches around the pill houses and allows the irrigation of the oasis.


Hi Life

Posted by George Chronopoulos
Posted on July 06th, 2011
in Architecture, Interiors & Matali Crasset