Bold Designs Keep Boredom At Bay  
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Market Watch - Page 17:

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Aesthetics - Bold Designs Keep Boredom At Bay.

 

 

2008 is already starting to show promise with the delivery of some highly-anticipated new projects on the island. Leading the way is Sala Phuket in Mai Khao, next to the JW Marriott.

The 79-room, mostly-pool villa resort is the second Sala hotel in Thailand, the ftrst being in Samui and owned by the same group as the island's Sila Evason Hideaway. Just drive past the entrance of JW Marriott along the sea to catch a look at the future of hotel design.

The hotel and residential markets in Phuket have long relied on a formula-driven approach to architecture, be it Lanna-inspired, detached pavilions or modem, tropical structures with little character or identity.

With the opening of the Martin Pallero designed Twin Palms a few years ago, the bar was raised on what could be achieved with out-of-the-box ideas, integration of deftnitive resort style landscaping and breaking the mold on enhancing simple designs with extraordinary creativity.

The hotel's reputation continued to evolve, making the property an industry leader with its Catch beach club, which is now sprouting an entire micro-industry of new projects looking to duplicate its success. Last year's renovation of Indigo Pearl Resort by famed landscape architect Bill Bensley, with its industrial chic together with John Underwood's magical ironwork, also showed how new ideas are creeping into the spotlight.

Continuing in this vein, architects such as Adrian McCarroll, Gary Fell landlandscape-designer Ross Palmer are changing the look of island design one project at a time. Two highly-anticipated hotel projects are Philippe Starck's The Yamu and Thailand's own Lek Bunnag at the Taj Exotica.

Meanwhile, back in Mai Khao, visitors to the Sala are in for some big surprises. Entering through an ornate sliding gate, you feel like

 

 

 

you are entering a private garden. Privacy and space are paramount with the focus mainly on secluded pool villas.

Down at the beach, the natural seafront space is the star attraction with integrated lap pools that appear almost too good to swim in.

Among the highlights are swings located among the tall trees near the beach. The swings create an image of idyllic wanderlust currently missing from so many cookie-cutter hotels.

While many developers look abroad for design advice, Sala was mostly the work of Thailand's Amata Luphaiboon of the company Department of Architecture.

With previous work at Zeavola on Koh Phi Phi and Samui's Sila Evison Hideaway, the Sala is clearly a labor of love. Told that the design was inspired by Phuket's Sino-Portuguese past, this influence is hard to ftnd at ftrst. Looking at the nuances in the outdoor tiling, window glazing use of doors in the pool villas, the influences are subtle hints in the most unexpected places.

While the indoor space is limited, the entire bathroom, from sinks and showers to bathtubs and toilets, is outdoors, providing an exotic experience for visitors.

In the restaurant and bar area, furniture is oversized, aimed at comfort and relaxation, which is what a holiday should be all about - furnishings are meant to be used, not looked at. All too often, designers move away from the ftrst rule of work: form follows function.

We salute K. Amata, Bill Bensley,Adrian McCarroll, Martin Pallerors and the people here who dare to be different. The foundation of what we expect from hotels, houses and developments continues to evolve. Next time you have some time to spare, go and visit the Sala and catch a glimpse of this brave new world of "wow" design.

 

 

 

 

 
   

Bill Bamett is Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks a Phuket hotel and residential consulting firm With more 20 years experience in the region, he has played an active role in some of the island biggest develovments.

       
       
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Archived Articles: 2007 - 2008

 

Krabi - On The Edge Of A Boom

 

Khao Lak, Back To The Future

 

Rental Income - Investment Rent And Raves

 

US Financial Crisis - Living The Sub-Prime Life

 

Hotel Branded Realestate, Battle Of The Brands

 

Aesthetics - Out With The New, In With The Old

 

Rental Property - Plus & Minus, Buying A Hotel Unit

 

Local Communities - Cables Gone Wild

 

Agent Commission, The Low Down About Paying Up

 

US Financial Crisis - Clouds The Property Horizon

 

Phuket - The Next Big Property Trend 2007

 

Vietnam, Too Fast Too Soon

 

Pre-plan your purchase, and prevent future pain

 

How we should protect the property cash cow

 

Timeshare, High End Fractional Ownership Matures

 

Budget Hotel Brands Shake Up The Scene

 

Re-Inventing Patong

 

Bali, (property) Supply Surges Ahead

 

Property Developers - Number Crunching Pays Off

 

Phuket, Battle to preserve the beaches

 

Aesthetics - Designing For Success

 

Phuket Luxury Villa Market Update Feb 2009

 

Low Season - Cyclical Cynics

   
 

 

   
 
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