It takes exceptional know-how and expertise to design and furnish an island lodge in a far-flung destination. Upscale Living magazine brings you our curated selection of remarkable architecture and interior design, Island Style.
Sim Boon Yang of Eco-ID, Bawah Reserve Elang Island, Riau Archipelago
Accessible only by private seaplane, Bawah Reserve is an off-the-beaten-track group of six tropical islands in the Riau Archipelago, Indonesia, located between Malaysia and Borneo. The stunning eco-friendly reserve combines high-end design with sustainability and a “back-to-nature” concept.
Eco-sensitivity was front of mind for architect and designer Sim Boon Yang when he designed Bawah Reserve. He worked with the owners to ensure the resort was constructed around the island’s natural environment, rather than through it. For five years, Bawah was built by hand with villas positioned around large trees; roofs thatched with palm leaves from a neighboring island; all tented suites and public areas made of bamboo and recycled teak; bath and shower areas made from recycled copper; and the tables and chairs fashioned from flotsam.
The resort also features Overwater Bungalows, a rare find in Indonesia, made out of recycled wood. This distinctive design vision has resulted in a resort that feels earthy and organic, yet relaxed, decadent, and spoiling too. In Spring 2020, Bawah Reserve will unveil brand new accommodation, which has also been designed by Sim Boon Yang, on a previously untouched island named ELANG.
Perching on the slopes of the island, six sustainably-minded lodges will be created with interiors made from recycled natural materials, bamboo, driftwood, and hand-cut stone. Each lodge will boast spacious living areas, private butler service, balconies with sparkling ocean views, and private paths leading to hidden rocky coves and into the sea.
Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens of Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens Adventure Architecture, North Island, Seychelles
A set foot of your private island in the Seychelles and drink in the infinite, exclusive space where the embrace of lush tropical palms and giant granite peaks dwarf your presence with their drama. North Island has only 11 villas, and your footprints will be the only evidence on the island’s vast, untouched beaches.
The architect and designers’ original philosophy has become the catalyst for island design, with extreme privacy at the fore of conceptualization and maintaining the ethos of being one with nature. In an attempt to restore the island to its pristine state with the removal of alien vegetation, the Noah’s Ark project was created by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, which also saw the return of seabirds and the preservation of the magpie robin, a small island bird on the brink of extinction, making North Island a role model for island conservation.
An “Haute Couture Robinson Crusoe” style was fashioned by Silvio and Lesley, with the wonderful notion of escaping the rat-race and being stranded on a paradisiacal island, where elements of beauty are coated with tactile comfort, and soft sheets replace any hardships guests might have endured. Despite being designed 21 years ago, the overall feeling is still fresh, modern, and barefoot luxury. Soft, billowing curtains on the wardrobes, French cutlery, colors that pick up on the celadons and pale blues of the sea. Bright coral red accents appear at night in the form of cushions and linen to herald the darkening dusk on North Island.
Jaya Ibrahim of Jaya, The Beach House at The Legian Seminyak, Bali
Thanks to its unparalleled, elevated location and sea-facing views, The Legian Seminyak, Bali is one of the island’s most iconic and best-loved hotels. One of the reasons for its popularity with high-flying guests is its exclusivity factor and direct access and views of Bali’s best beach. Those looking for ultimate privacy and luxury can opt for the hotel’s private villa residence – The Beach House – the largest villa in Bali and one of two with direct beach access.
It was designed by renowned Indonesian architect Jaya Ibrahim who created chic, locally inspired interiors and exuded rustic charm through the use of Balinese and Indonesian architecture, natural fiber furniture, and indigenous artifacts, all framed by walled tropical gardens.
Jaya was the son of a Javanese princess and a Sumatran diplomat and spent a lot of his childhood traveling the world with his parents, as well as living with his grandmother, taking in the rich Javanese culture. Jaya created and crafted interiors that possess an understated elegance, which thrills the senses.
The Legian Seminyak was one of Jaya’s defining solo projects, leading him on to design some other well-known hotels, including The Chedi Muscat, Oman, The Four Seasons Nam Hai Hoi An, the Aman Summer Palace, Beijing, and the Shiatzy Chen boutiques in Pairs and across Asia. When describing his work, Jaya would explain that his vision can be traced back to historic routes, creating what he called a “Contemporary design with a pedigree.” www.jaya.com
Petr Kolar of ADR, Velaa Private Island, Maldives
Velaa Private Island is the realization of a dream to create a ‘beyond luxury’ ultra-exclusive boutique hideaway. This unique destination was developed to embody the very best of this exceptional archipelago, bathed by azure skies in the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. The name of this private retreat, an elegant fusion of Maldivian culture with contemporary luxury, means “Turtle Island” in the local language – named after generations of sea turtles that have flocked here to nest and hatch.
The resort design borrows from this theme, with turtle motifs, and the colors and patterns of turtle shell permeating the property. From a broader “bird’s eye view,” which greets arrivals by seaplane, the island’s exclusive over-water villas are also constructed to resemble the head of a turtle, with the island forming the body. Velaa Private Island also ensures plenty of room for its marine visitors, with a hatchery and conservation plan in place. Velaa Private Island is just under 20 hectares in size, around half a kilometer in either direction, providing both exclusivity and privacy.
Designed by Czech architect Petr Kolar, the overall design concept is contemporary, yet intimate, with Maldivian nuances. Through the essence and experiences on offer, coupled with remarkable architecture and design, Velaa Private Island is truly unique in the Maldives context. Striking an excellent balance between seclusion and providing a feast for the eyes with a combination of tradition and modern finishes, guests will experience an overwhelming feeling of peace, tranquility, and relaxation.