Priory of Navarre

Date 2023
Client Private
Value n.a.
Location Valletta, Malta

heritage interior design maltese heritage rehabilitation


The philosophy behind the design of the Priory of Navarre was to craft spaces that embody the essence of theatre while establishing their own distinct identity. The additions, which include a suite of new functions such as a booking office, exhibition spaces, a café, a public event space, offices, and other ancillary rooms, aimed to transform the building while respecting its existing structure, each space speaking its architectural language and offering a journey filled with surprises.

On the ground floor, the room embodies the intrinsic theatrical ambiance of the building's heritage. To achieve this, materials and objects evocative of the world of theatre were carefully selected to compose the environment. A black palette adorns both the floor and ceiling, complemented by suspended track lighting that mirrors the atmospheric backstage environment. The centerpiece—a large block of Calacatta marble—serves not only as a functional counter but also as a dramatic visual anchor, visible even from the street, playing on theatrical scales.

This level was designed to guide visitors from the bustling exterior into the building's heart through a restored central vaulted corridor, now adorned with a timeline narrating the theatre’s rich history. The transition between spaces is marked by deliberate design changes, fostering a seamless narrative throughout.

The new public toilets at the basement level show the use of two different marbles, Nero Marquinia and Bianco Carrara. The details and the combination of the slabs make the space richer. At the first floor a new octagonal vestibule has been created to connect the Theatre to the big new event hall, which is a versatile space ready to be used in different situations. The high folding partitions, the new coffered ceiling, the timber aperture frames, and the high timber skirting are a contemporary interpretation of historic halls.

Through these design strategies, the project offers spatial surprises while maintaining a sense of originality and timelessness, guided by a reverence for the building's historical significance, a dedication to functional innovation, and a desire to create visually striking and interconnected spaces. The intervention not only revitalizes the building for contemporary use but also pays homage to its rich past.