This week “design for a better life” gives hospitality to a real journalist!
Inspired by the idea of writing about places that make your life better, Barbara Franco takes you on literature's wings!
In American thrillers the huge skyscraper terraces are often the stage for improbable pursuits that culminate, in most cases, with the wicked hurtling down (how can you forget young Kevin Costner who takes revenge for his friend's murder in “The Untouchables”?).
Girls like them, as they evoke the first warm breezes, synonymous with intense nights, talks, light clothes, diffused music and bubbly. It's a “paillette” image, that definitely has the feel of the fantastic parties seen in Sex and the City, the TV series that made you dream of amusing and sly nights with a breathtaking view of the Big Apple.
But, in the more accessible, popular version, they are also the scenery for cheerful, colorful and noisy tablefuls like in Ozpetek's “His Secret Life”.
Whatever image you associate with them, today, in the main cities of the world, terraces are synonymous with roof garden bars or rooftop bars, charming places to enjoy privileged views from, where you can feel far from chaos and breathe rarefied atmospheres, made of encounters as time stands still. Design, good lounge music, candles and diffused lights and a selection of international drinks are the ingredients common to most of them.
The first one I saw in my life was NuTeras in Istanbul, a city that has very many! It's a lovely restaurant, hidden in an ordinary building on an ordinary street, unexpected and unfindable if not with the help of our friend Melis. The counter turns its back to the city, so that, while you are sipping a cocktail, you can enjoy a breathtaking sight of the Golden Horn.
In New York, where they originated, there are the most seductive, especially for those who love a metropolitan skyline. The first and biggest one is 230 Fifth, on the Avenue with the same name, from which you can have a privileged view of the Empire State Building and of the main skyscrapers of the Big Apple (even in the winter, thanks to the blankets you are given).
But if 230 Fifth is the grandfather, then the trendiest is the Press Lounge, with a pool (even if sportswear is not admitted!) and a gorgeous view of the Hudson. In this case too the glass parapets can't be missing, to amplify further on the effect of being suspended in the void.
On the contrary, if you prefer archaeological views, you can't miss the Galaxy Bar in Athens!
From the Hilton rooftop you can watch a magic sunset over the Acropolis and keep out of the chaotic traffic of the Greek capital. A counter that runs along the building perimeter and decor in different shades of white are the main features of these premises.
If you pass through Paris and love culture, the most noted is Le Georges, situated on the Centre Pompidou roof. It's probably because you are in one of the temples of the art world, but the contrast between the furniture, very minimal and based on glass and steel structures, and the view of the magnificence of the Ville Lumière's architectures is even more seductive because it's so striking.
You can throw a romantic glance at a wonderful imperial city from the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar &Lounge in Vienna, on the 8th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. A dinner there is really too expensive, but you have to go there at least for a drink: on the soft white cushions of the elegant dark couches the city appears even more mysterious.
What about Italy? Here too rooftop bars are spreading everywhere, satisfying everybody's tastes. One of the most celebrated in our capital city is the Roof Top Bar &RestaurantI Sofa at hotel St. George, in the central Via Giulia, from which you can admire the Eternal City in warm ambience and enjoy very good dishes.
In Venice it's still the Hilton that offers you the cutest roof from Molino Stucky, Giudecca.
Awarded as the bar with best design in Italy, this skybar is situated on the top floor of an ancient mill, renovated and converted into a hotel; from here the lagoon looks enchanting and if the weather is sultry, the pool isn't bad at all!
To finish with, it's for local pride that I can't avoid mentioning the most beautiful skybar around the whole Lago Maggiore, the one of hotel La Palma in Stresa. Also in this case soft cushions, glass parapets and light diffused by sculptures in the shape of balls increase the ecstasy of enjoying the 360° view of the Borromeo's Islands, of the lake and of the hills. Pure magic, especially during summer sunsets.
"Top roof for a better life"