Inspirational, unique and attention-grabbing. Architecture at this level renders the buildings unique not only in look but in functionality as well. Combine that with the plushest and most luxurious interiors and you have an aesthetically pleasing combination. Upscale Living brings you Architecturally Unique structures that are so out of this world, you have to see it to believe it.
andBEYOND SANDIBE OKAVANGO SAFARI LODGE
Okavango Delta Botswana
Inspired by one of the Okavango Delta’s most secretive inhabitants, the guest areas of andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge are clad in a wooden skin of shingles and timber that mirrors the pangolin’s body armor of overlapping scales. Stairs rising out of bower of trees lead into cool and spacious interior, ending on a terrace set just above ground level.
A curved wooden roof soars high overhead, creating a grand and immense sense of scale. High interiors let in the clear African light and a view of the Delta horizons. The vast expanse of the bar invites guests to linger over a sundowner drink or a morning cappuccino, enjoying views over a sea of papyrus from the elevated viewing deck. Descending to the shaded forest floor, a series of decks open out onto a lantern-lit boma formed from huge logs of the descending size that mimic the tail bones of the pangolin.
Organic and handmade, the lodge blends perfectly with its surroundings, becoming one with the Delta itself. An interactive kitchen tantalizes guests with the fragrant aroma of spices at each meal time.
Decorated by Interior Designer firm Fox Browne Creative in shades of copper and wood, intricately woven baskets abound throughout the guest areas, celebrating the arts and crafts of the Delta. The vast dining room is dominated by an immense table roughly carved from the root of an ironwood tree. Two large woven carpets duplicate the intricate patterns on the underneath of the area’s beautiful water lilies.
Grand interiors constructed by Nicholas Plewman Architects open out onto even grander vistas and every nook and cranny opens out onto unparalleled Delta views, even the cozy and intimate massage sala.
While the main guest areas embrace the shelter of the Delta forest, the twelve elegant guest suites peep out from beneath its canopy, treading lightly on the forest floor and ecosystems whilst being completely off-the-grid.
ENTRE CIELOS LUXURY WINE HOTEL & SPA
Entre Cielos is a unique creation. Having the courage to take a risk, and the confidence to do what feels right can lead to exceptional wines that are as enigmatic as they are enchanting. This certainly applies to a room that stands above the vineyard on stilts, offering a protective cocoon. Futuristic in its styling, with rounded, flowing forms, it boasts a sparkling bathtub on the terrace and a window in the roof that offers views of the expansive starry sky.
The Limited Edition Vineyard Loft was designed with romantic couples in mind or the oenophile’s perfect accommodation. This gem floats above our sprawling vineyards; the wine loft boasts the most in touch views of the Andes, our Malbec vines and the luminous night skies of Mendoza.
Baumraum, the German Design Studio directed by Andreas Wenning, was the chosen one for this very special room, an emblem of the hotel. They were asked to design luxury guest accommodation that offers a maximum of comfort within a small space. They designed a unit consisting of an elliptical cabin with an external terrace situated on several irregularly placed steel columns. A two-flight stairway provides access to the entrance at a height of approximately five meters above ground.
Guests staying at the Limited Edition have included the Hamam Traditional Circuit. This means that the guests start their journey from the deepest level of Entre Cielos, having an introversion moment, purifying themselves, renewing themselves and completing the journey at the highest place of the hotel, the Limited Edition terrace, drinking a glass or Marantal, which grapes come from the vineyards standing below them.
Explore the charms of Entre Cielos and the celebrated Malbec vines that have ensured Mendoza to be one of the world’s premier wine capitals. Here you will find the perfect mix of solitude and sophistication.
FOGO ISLAND INN
Gander, Newfoundland, Canada
Fogo Island Inn has an international reputation for exceptional, embodied, place-specific hospitality and bold, thoughtful, humanistic contemporary design.
Fogo Island Inn was designed by Newfoundland-born, Norway-based architect, Todd Saunders. The 43,000 square-foot Inn has perched on stilts and hugs the North Atlantic coastline, affording all 29 rooms with floor-to-ceiling views of sea and sky. All rooms showcase the richness of their locality and clearly express a modern take on traditional Newfoundland outport design and décor. The Inn’s architecture is bold, optimistic, and distinctly of this place. Though radical in its design, the Inn still speaks to the traditional outport Newfoundland aesthetic.
Two floors of guest rooms sit atop the Inn’s stilts, a distinct nod to traditional outport fishing stages. These stilts, or “shores,” underpin many of the buildings on Fogo Island due to the rocky, undulating topography. They support the Inn while also minimizing the overall building footprint and impact on the adjacent rocks, lichens, and berries. The Inn’s sharp angles and rough contours feel at home amidst Fogo Island’s jagged and uneven landscape.
The X-shaped structure features a two-story west-to-east wing containing gathering spaces, and four-story south-west to the north-east wing, parallel to the coast, containing all of the guest rooms. The first floor includes the contemporary Art Gallery curated by Fogo Island Arts, the dining room, bar, lounge, and tea room. The second floor is home to a Heritage library containing works of both fiction and non-fiction pertaining to Newfoundland, the cinema, meeting room, gym, and reading room, and the fourth-floor roof deck houses wood-fired saunas and outdoor hot tubs.
Guest room sizes vary from 350 to 1 100 square feet, with rooms on the third and fourth floors all including wood-burning stoves. All of the Inn’s rooms were created using only natural materials such as wood, wool, cotton, and linen. The only plastic in the guest rooms is the telephone.
Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
Standing directly on the Uyuni Salt Flats at the foot of Tunupa Volcano and at an altitude of 3,600 meters, Kachi Lodge resembles a space station with its unique and luxurious white pods. Composed of repeated equilateral triangles, their metallic structure is the very essence of its mathematical elegance.
In front or on top of the dome, a transparent panel offers wide-open views on the Salar and its star-studded sky. Lit up at night, with solar panels placed in between the domes, they are one of the coolest and most surreal viewing stations ever seen in this arid region. The perfect escape for a passionate astrophysicist!
With a structure required to withstand harsh weather conditions, the shape and geodesic frame is able to resist high-speed winds and extreme temperatures. Because of its position right on the Salt Flats, which is a fragile and protected environment, a self-standing structure was constructed that didn’t require groundwork.
A dome encloses the largest volume of interior space with the least amount of surface area. Each dome boasts a living area of 300 square feet, a bathroom with shower, toilet, running hot water and heating. With an overall contemporary design that is natural and warm, a queen-sized bed faces a bay window, offering stunning views onto the Salt Flats.
Floors are covered with coconut fiber rugs and Bolivian wool carpets. Soft grey inside insulation layer gives a cozy touch to the dome, strengthened by the soft glow of a pellet stove that provides hours of comfortable heat. Thanks to the cooperation of Gaston Ugalde, the most famous contemporary Bolivian artist, the lodge will be enriched with original pieces of art and installations.
Kachi Lodge is the ideal fit for this unusual landscape, both by their white color, matching the shining surface of the flats and by their futuristic albeit luxurious style. They look perfectly in place in this environment.
City of Dreams, Macau
Designed by legendary architect and the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, the late Dame Zaha Hadid, Morpheus is a structural masterpiece.
Inspired by jade artifacts, Morpheus is the world’s first free-form, exoskeleton-bound, high-rise architectural composition and incorporates a number of architectural and technological breakthroughs.
The amount of material used to complete this building is staggering: 28,000 tons of steel used to structure the building, four times the amount of the wrought iron used to build the Eiffel Tower, 48,000m² of glass – enough to frame 120,000 Mona Lisas, 70,500m² of reinforced concrete – more than 28 Olympic-sized swimming pools, 50,000m² of aluminum cladding – enough to make more than 9 million soda cans and a 35m-high atrium lobby – tall enough for a double Ferris wheel.
The world of Morpheus is where innovation meets luxury. The icon of new Macau, it is destined to redefine high-end hospitality with the world’s most exquisite brands throughout its stunning guest rooms and villas.
Interior design is perfected by one of the world’s top interior designers, Peter Remedios, with groundbreaking collaborations with chef Groundbreaking collaborations with legendary chef Alain Ducasse and Pierre Hermé, who has been named the World’s Best Pastry Chef at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards. Stunning contemporary art is displayed by internationally renowned artists KAWS, Jean-Michel Othoniel, and Thilo Heinzmann.
A myriad of creative comforts will ensure that a stay at Morpheus is more than luxurious. Think Frette and Mühldorfer bed linen, The Madison Collection bath linen, Bernardaud chinaware, Royal Selangor bathroom accessories, Hermès and Acqua di Parma toiletries, Alessi tableware, Dyson hairdryers, and Nespresso coffee machines.
Floating through the air in Macau is best experienced in the gravity-defying pool located 40 stories (130 meters) above the city. For the fashionistas, enjoy exclusive pop-ups with the world’s most fashion-forward brands and curated spaces featuring some of the coolest products in the world.
Denali National Park, Alaska
The beauty, majesty, and remote locale of the Don Sheldon Amphitheater, a 35-square-mile basin carved by glacial ice in Alaska’s Denali National Park, is astounding. The silence is profound. The snow-capped wilderness is breathtaking.
The view of aurora borealis is unmatched and a five-bedroom, luxury chalet built upon a nunatak, an isolated peak of rock that projects above the inland ice and snow, offers visitors a birds-eye view of the splendor at an elevation of 6,000 feet.
The story of how this destination came to be is as captivating as its views. The family of the late Don Sheldon, the legendary glacier pilot, has called this piece of privately-owned land inside Denali park home since the 1950s. The children, Robert Sheldon, with his wife Marne, and his sister Kate had hoped for decades to fulfill their parents’ wish of creating a place where they could connect guests from all over the globe with the indescribable grandeur of the Ruth Glacier and the gorge.
Creating a luxurious interior space in this extreme environment depended upon finding the right products. The design goal by Marvin Windows and Doors was to provide exceptional views of the
Alaska range from every angle of the chalet in both private and common areas. Large windows in each guestroom allow wonderful panoramic views of the Alaska range, while the combination of windows and glass French doors maximize the vistas available in the dining and lounge areas.
“We wanted to accentuate the stunning and distinct views of the 35-square-mile amphitheater throughout the Chalet,” explains owner Robert Sheldon. “Every peak is so distinctive. The glacier blue is undeniably pristine. The shifting colors across the multi-variety granite throughout the day is almost magical. From the moment guests arrive, they donʼt want to stop looking at the beauty around them. And we designed the Chalet so they could appreciate and study the area from different vantage points and never have to look away.”
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Located in Namibia’s Skeleton Coast Central Concession, between the Hoarusib and Hoanib Rivers, Shipwreck Lodge is the only luxury accommodation in the Skeleton Coast National Park. A raw, rugged and impossibly remote area of the country, it was important that the lodge would leave not a blemish on the pristine landscape should it ever have to be moved.
As a result, the guest areas have been constructed from sustainably sourced timber that can easily be demounted, whilst the back of house areas are housed in modified shipping containers that can simply be picked up and relocated as required.
The rooms as styled to look like the relics of the ancient ships that dot the coastline, the buildings are as unique and distinctive as the extraordinary backdrop, yet blend almost imperceptibly into the landscape. They are foundered ships, assembled by survivors into shelters, and completely different to any lodge on the continent.
Masterfully created by Architect Nina Maritz from Nina Maritz Architects, the brief was both challenging and light-hearted, resulting in an eye-catching lodge with almost zero environmental impact.
Interiors are the handiwork of Melanie van der Merwe of Women Unleashed. Offering a respite from the harsh environment and a place to relax and reflect, shades of blue, burgundy, black and white are used to represent the ever-changing moods of the Atlantic Ocean, whilst accents of rose and mauve take inspiration from the semi-precious stones found in the area.
The use of recycled wood, rope, linen and cotton in the bedrooms is authentic, yet soothing to the touch, and in the dining room, enamel dishes and old silverware transport you to a time of adventure
and intrigue. The artwork on the sliding doors and around the rooms and the main area is original, created exclusively for the lodge by local Namibian artists. The effect is soulful, calming, and extremely comfortable, without ever detracting from the incredible exterior structures.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Designed by South African based company Artichoke, owned by Caline Williams Wynn, The Highlands was inspired by the stunning landscape of the Ngorongoro Highlands area, reminiscent by name and also in topography and climate to the Highlands of Scotland. The camp itself provides a stylish refuge from the elements and genuine African experience, memorable not only for the innovative design of the domes but also the unique environment that surrounds them.
The Geodesic Dome, popularized by Robert Buckminster Fuller, was touted by the American Institute of Architecture as the, “strongest, lightest, most efficient means of enclosing space known to man.” The design is such that the structure can bear immense loads while having no internal supports aside from the structure itself.
Traditional homes rely on spreading the overall weight across supports made of right angles as opposed to a geodesic dome in which the load is dispersed across the entirety of the structure. This makes a much more efficient space and leaves room for completely open interior design, unlimited by loadbearing walls and columns.
The domes also have an exceptionally small ecological footprint; the bulk of the structure is made of recyclable materials and the spherical nature allows the dome to be heated and cooled efficiently and evenly, having no corners for air to pocket into. Between the low waste from manufacturing and the efficiency of heating/cooling, the geodesic dome is an excellent choice for a low impact on the environment.
Inspired by the round shapes of the traditional Maasai bomas that dot the landscape, Asilia’s goal was to create a comfortable and spacious yet homely feel in these eye-catching structures.
Faux fur and woven throws within the canvas-domed tents emanate warmth and relaxation, whilst the wooden floors and deck provide comfortable living spaces. Clear windows within the domed structures allow the outside in, ensuring that guests are able to take advantage of the magnificent surroundings.