This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire series features the breath-taking ‘Whale Bar’ designed by WOW Architects. We spoke to Wong Chiu Man (Founder and Managing Director) of WOW Architects about this extraordinary project, our overall winner of the SBID Awards 2017.
The Whale Bar’s iconic shape was inspired by the majestic whale shark. This imaginative yet elegant retreat is elevated by light oak interiors and a softly lit neutral palette. The use of fish scale inspired timber shingles around the kitchen and smooth iridescent stucco inside the “body” of the whale emphasises the marine iconography that is unmistakable. The team endeavoured to make as many aspects of the project as sustainable as possible, up-cycling and recycling wherever appropriate, focusing their attentions on highlighting the fragility of the surrounding environment within their design in the hope that this would motivate guests to contemplate the creation of a responsible future for the next generations.
Company: WOW Architects | Warner Wong Design
Project: THE WHALE BAR
Project Location: St Regis Resort Vommuli Island, Maldives
What was the client’s brief?
The clients desire was to create a resort destination that would standout from the existing resorts in the Maldives and be commercially successful. After much research and discussion, the components of the brief were decided upon, the master plan designed and construction started. Upon appointing the St Regis as the operator, the brief was evolved further and refined, and improvements were made to fully achieve the brand’s potential, and the clients vision for a leading resort hotel.
What inspired the design of the Project?
After visiting many resorts in the Maldives, we understood the evolution of resort design throughout the last twenty years. The latest and best resorts had a strong ecological aspect but still stayed within the realm of design inspirations from the human perspective. We saw an opportunity to create even more eco awareness and draw inspirations directly from nature itself, and to pointedly draw attention through our design to the fragility of atoll and marine habitats in particular. Thus, the design evolved through our inspirations and observations on atoll ecology and marine biology. We hope that the design will uplift and motivate our guests in creating a responsible future for the next generations.
What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?
Building sensitively with minimal waste and consideration for protecting the islands ecology was by far the biggest challenge. Efficiency and speed minimises waste and the logistic and carbon footprint on the Maldives and resources we needed. Despite using all forms of prefabrication and eco friendly materials, up-cycling and recycling, the longer the construction time is, the larger the waste footprint. Our challenge on a daily basis was to find affordable and intelligent solutions to minimise the waste while achieving a high standard of construction and finish.
What was your team’s highlight of the project?
We had many highlights over 4 years. From the beauty of the sunsets to the drama of the storms, and the pleasure of seeing and preserving the island and the marine life around us.
However, an unexpected reward was how we were able to connect with the villagers from the neighbouring islands by offering them employment and gaining their trust and respect. They were instrumental in minimising waste because they up-cycled many leftover building materials and packaging materials into their villages and our project actually improved the villagers lives. This was truly sustainability in practice.
Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?
We hoped to gain recognition for a project very close to our hearts and wished that by winning an SBID award, we could not only celebrate the design, but tell the meaningful stories that made the design possible. For receiving the overall winners award, we are extremely proud and grateful, but also humbled by the quality of the other winners.
Questions answered by Wong Chiu Man (Founder and Managing Director) WOW Architects.
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If you missed last week’s Project of the Week with Orkun Indere’s winter wonderland ‘Log House Extension’ click here to see more
Entries were received, finalists deliberated and the winners of the SBID International Design Awards 2017 have been announced! Click here to see the full list.
We hope you feel inspired! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire
WOW Architects | SBID International Design Awards 2017
2018 copyright WOW Architects | Warner Wong Design
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire series features the dream-like Kanuhura Resort, an island retreat situated in Lhaviyani Atoll, the Maldives, a true paradise for free-spirited travellers.
Inspired by the concept of ‘gypsy jet-setters’ or ‘gypsetters’ a term coined by Muza Lab – the project focused on pulling inspiration from these two concepts. Combining the free-spirited lifestyle of ‘gypsies’ with the decadence and the spontaneity of ‘the jet set-life.’
“We found inspiration in the legends, culture and natural world of the islands – their stories, colours and sculptural forms. By bringing these influences into the experience of Kanuhura, we have created a sense of free-spirited timelessness and well being where guests can escape from their normal lives and find a place to create their own special memories with family and friends.” Inge Moore
Muza Lab completely redesigned and reimagined the private island resort breathing new life and spirit into the holiday retreat.
“The concept of luxury is changing,” says Moore. “Luxury is now about what you get to feel inside rather than what you have to show off. As designers, this means it’s our thought process that sparks these feelings, and that really excites me. So with Kanuhura, we loved translating the values that bring happiness to sophisticated, well-travelled ‘gypsetters’ into experiences designed to elevate their sophisticated, free-spirited souls.”
SBID had the opportunity to speak with Inge Moore, Founder of Muza Lab about this spectacular project.
Company: Muza Lab
Project: Kanuhura Resort, Maldives
Project Location: The Maldives
We were presented with the opportunity to redesign every existing area of Kanuhura Maldives as well as to introduce new spaces, working from the big picture though to every minor detail, from creating larger guestrooms and renovating the F&B outlets, to amenities such as crockery, picnic baskets and uniform collections for the staff.
What inspired the design of the project?
We wanted to create something different from the usual luxury hotel offering in the Maldives, something that was bohemian, colourful and laid-back. Our inspiration for this was the word “gypset” – describing a lifestyle that combines the unconventionality of the gypsy with the sophistication and speed of the jetsetter.
We always like to tell stories through our design and, in this case, we were spoilt for choice! Extraordinary legends, fascinating cultural traditions and the stunning natural world of the islands gave us so many ideas that we could weave together, taking their forms and palette into different spaces and bringing them to life with an authentic sense of place.
The inspiration for the arrival area, for example, is the black and white sarong of the local Boduberu performers who showcase tales of heroism, satire and romance. The island kitchen A Mano, which translates as “touched by the hand”, embraces all that is handmade and natural, with lime washed timbers, local stones, woven fabrics and eclectic handmade ceramics. In Bottega Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, fiery reds and corals mingle with sandy pinks, yellows and bright blues in a celebration of the colours of the Indian Ocean.
With the guestrooms & suites, we wanted to showcase the phenomenal panoramas, whilst bringing elements of the landscape into the design through material and colour choice. The Palm Houses take their palette from the surrounding palm trees and their position on the beach means that they benefit from uninterrupted views towards the ocean. The Shell Houses are raised over the Indian Ocean with exteriors inspired by the traditional local dwellings. Each of their outdoor courtyards has a bath so that guests can bathe under the stars whilst the terraces feature nets with large fluffy cushions suspended over the turquoise water, allowing sophisticated castaways a very private and luxurious connection with nature.
As the resort is so remote, the logistics of getting all the materials and products we needed on site was probably the toughest hurdle. We also had to bear the humid climate in mind when making each design choice. Everything used needed to be hard-wearing to combat the sun, sea and tropical rain, yet also beautiful. Striking the balance between the two was imperative to create a luxury oasis that could stand the test of time.
The best thing about the project was actually the same as what we found hardest – the location. It was such a fabulous place to work and whilst it could be a hassle, it was worth it.
SBID International Design Awards are widely considered to be one of the top schemes in the industry. It is important for us to compete against leading studios worldwide and the calibre of projects entered is always high.
Questions answered by Inge Moore, Founder of Muza Lab
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week with Studio Proof for the NH Collection Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Click Here
Entries to the SBID Awards 2017 are now closed. To find out more about booking a table Click Here
Muza Lab | SBID International Design Awards 2017
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