The Architecture Studio has completed its first ever commercial project, an exclusive boutique resort on the island of Mahe, Seychelles.
The hotel features a private marina that will allow guests to moor a yacht up to 100m in size. Once there, guests will immerse themselves in the ultimate holistic wellness escape surrounded by beautiful interiors and architecture from the hand of a globally leading design studio. The boutique resort is set to a backdrop of the lush green mountains of Mahe; from which textural references are lifted into the interior. The base palette is light and layered with a selection of soft and heavy weave fabrics, both neutral and printed with the colours of the island.
The team sourced bespoke furniture from across South East Asia and the interior structures were fitted using a locally sourced tropical hardwood called ‘Nayatoh’, ensuring that the spirit of the island is abundant in every space. The hotel is the quintessential tropical retreat; offering an excursion for the senses and the promise of complete tranquillity. The interior feels organic, fresh and alive with the spirit of the island and materials found on land and at sea are crafted into works of art by specially selected artisans. Woven raffia veneers, drift oak joinery and rope-wrapped columns bring a soft warmth to the spaces and renewable rattan adds delicate textural depth to the areas.
Inspiration from the ocean is seen in turquoise, deep-sea blues, corals and bright yellows that are matched with beautiful teak wood from Indonesia. Winch Design wanted to not just celebrate the natural beauty of Mahe through the interior schemes but also invite the outside in, and large retractable glass walling found throughout the spaces mean that the ocean is never far from reach.
The spirit of tranquil wellness is epitomised in the spa villas which are set towards the rear of the hotel. Guests follow a network of walkways over a Japanese inspired water garden to arrive at the hotel’s wellness centre and on the way encounter water features, lush green palms and native plants that enhance the feeling of barefoot luxury. Raw, untreated stone is softened by a candle-lit, tunnelled walkway to the main reception and two treatment rooms connect to the main spa and relaxation space. Following a treatment, guests can wind down in the peaceful outdoor yoga studio overlooking a Zen garden and then, following a class, take a short walk to the open-air sunken juice bar which benefits from beautiful ocean views. The statement onyx bar is set in front of petrified wood artworks and suspended above it, a striking bamboo fish float. At night, the hotel is transformed into a secluded tropical oasis. Low level lighting creates a soft ambient paradise, mature palms are softly lit by illuminated water features and by the underwater lighting which makes the marina glow at night.
The Architecture team began with a site of two identities; half, the blueprint of an existing hotel and the other, raw and untouched forest terrain. Taking a wide-lensed view of the project in situ, they penned and specified every aspect of the design and alongside the local architects, maintained the momentum and ensured the best quality on site. The architects worked with traditional inspiration but were accompanied by a contemporary mindset. They visualised a structure sympathetic to the traditional Seychellois vernacular; the roof of the main building features traditional ‘double-hip’ detailing, rendering the lines of the resort in keeping with local silhouettes. Much of the design centres around water and spaces flow into one another in an intuitive, tranquil way, much like the element that guided the design.
A central philosophy underpinning the hotel was the symbiotic relationship between ocean and mountain and this is illustrated perfectly by the architect's decision to create a clear visual line from the ocean directly through the centre of the resort to the spa area, set to the backdrop of the mountain-scape. A visual pathway that links both spirits of the resort; right to the ocean, and left to the mountains behind.
Winch Design was founded in 1986 by Andrew and Jane Winch as a specialist exterior and interior yacht design company. Over time, the company has added aviation, architecture and interiors teams to its core yacht portfolio and now employs over 110 people, working on a number of international design projects on land, in the air and at sea. Based in an old fire station on the banks of the River Thames, Winch Design will be celebrating thirty-five years in business this year.