Alila Cha-Am – 115 Moo 7, Tambol Bangkao, Amphur Cha-Am, Petchaburi, Thailand
Client: Alila Hotels & Resorts
Project owner/developer: SKR International Group
Architect/interior designer/ landscape designer: Duangrit Bunnag Architect
M&E consultant: Fusion Consultants
The Brief: The essence of Thai culture is timeless, and a Thai beach resort should be more than coconut trees and thatched roofs. So, we decided on a different approach that will be Thai, exquisite and contemporary, all at the same time. However, we were also determined that, while it would be understated, the design had to be unforgettable too.
Duangrit Bunnag says: ‘The hotel concept is essentially about nature. Not about cultural locality, but purely about its natural context. The project’s vocabulary requires architectural sublimity, so the purity of nature can be fully appreciated.
The project is laid out in a linear approach. The sequence of “space poetry” begins with a geometrical landscaped courtyard – a large white marble piazza – which brings you to grand marble steps leading to a large open-air lobby with a latticed-wood structure spanning 18m; it finishes at a seemingly never-ending stretch of a pool that meets the horizon. A beach-front restaurant marks the end.
The function of the project is simple and straightforward: a restaurant with a beach-front experience, a spa for ultimate relaxation, a room with a view and a house with a pool. A key highlight at Alila Cha-Am is the Red Bar. Thus, from now on, you may have to consider red as a function.
The design of the project is far removed from the word “contemporary” or “style”.
The notion of the design is about a place, its emotional and spatial connotations.
How does the décor pay homage to Thai culture? The notion of Thai culture can lead to a diverse and contradictory dialogue. What is the actual definition of “Thai culture”? Is it something you see or something you taste and feel? This project can perhaps symbolise Thai culture using the analogy of Thai food: it is not about how it looks, but more about how it feels.
We designed most of the furniture ourselves because the strong personality of our architecture suits few furniture collections. All the materials used for furniture and finishing are inspired by nature; thus, we have stone, wood, glass, concrete and red – red can be considered as a material too.’
• Limestone finishing: Azul verde, Spain, and Crema mocha, Portugal
• Glass mosaic tiles: Bisazza, Italy
• Flooring: Pandomo, Germany
• Rain shower: Mem, Germany
• Furniture: Cappellini, Italy
• Lighting fixture: Ergo, Germany
Project completed: Due to open in the last quarter of 2007