Tag Archives: Architecture

Green & Chic | Singita Lebombo Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa

By Dian Hasan | July 15, 2010

In the world of trends, green is the new black. And the fusion of latest design in portraying resorts that blend into their immediate surroundings, the results are stunning. Firmly placing “chic” in “eco”. The world’s latest crop of new eco-friendly designer hotels are so comfortable in their own skin, and are so place- and culture-specific, that one must wonder, why it took so long for the design community to realize the magical potential of designing with eco in mind. Singita Lebombo Lodge is Africa’s answer.

Singita Lebombo Lodge is situated in the Nwanetsi Concession Area in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Singita Lebombo rests lightly among the ancient boulders of the Lebombo Mountains overlooking the African plain where 2 rivers meet

It is a place where guests will be able to experience the real Africa, majestic, unfiltered and unadorned. From the sweeping wooden decks, you can watch the theatre that unfolds before you, while the lap pool beckons to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. The 15-suites feature contemporary finishes with beds done in high-thread Egyptian cotton and silky-soft throws.

Guests stay in luxurious suites elevated on stilts along the cliff side. Look out from your timber and glass suite and enjoy the breathtaking views over the African bush. The suites all have floor to ceiling glass walls, ideal for game viewing.

Dine indoors or out while watching game traverse the vast open grassland. Singita Lebombo’s dedicated Bush Spa offers a comprehensive activity and personal treatment program, while the African Trading Store showcases some of Africa’s finest and most exclusive clothing, artworks and decorative ware.


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Green & Chic | The Hardy Residence, Bali, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 8, 2010

What do you do after you’ve built a jewelry empire from scratch on the idyllic tropical isle of Bali? That is probably the question that John Hardy has pondered many times over in the past few decades he’s been living in Bali. A life’s journey that saw him build himself into a brand name synonymous with exquisite silver jewelry pieces inspired by daily life of culturally-rich Bali. Celebrating the craftsmanship if the Balinese people for whom exploring their artistic gift was as second-nature as their creations of ornate daily offerings to their Gods.

Over the years, John Hardy’s pieces have adorned real royalty and Hollywood royalty alike. And upscale consumerist palaces like Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s and Nieman Marcus have been his loyal customers.

John Hardy sold his jewelry business a few years ago, and has since focused most of his attention on education and the environment, a merging of two ideas that have resulted in the creation of the “out-of-this-world” Green School, Bali’s international school that is way ahead of its time, where man, nature and education become an inseparable bond! (check out my blog post about the Green School).

To take a peek into his extraordinary life, the stunning place he and his wife, Cynthia, calls home is an excellent start. A 110-foot-long traditional house, that overlooks Ayung River valley in Bali.

The upper house stands on stilts 59 feet high.

The main house was finished in 1997, and for their the Hardys who love to entertain, they’ve had to expand their kitchen. Continue reading

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Green & Chic | The Universe House, Roca Blanca, Mexico

universe houseuniverse house

Architectural photographer Iwan Baan recently shot the Universe House, designed by Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco and built by architect Tatiana Bilbao in Roca Blanca, Mexico.

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Green & Chic | Fateh Garh Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

By Dian Hasan | July 8, 2010


In India, the trend of converting their amazing collection of historical royal palaces into luxury hotels continues apace, especially now that India is forging ahead with as an economic juggernaut, next to China.

Without much promotion, India has always been embedded in the minds of many, replete with its fascinating dichotomy of love and hate, the existence of extremes side-by-side, whether its extreme poverty, gaudiness, or natural beauty. India has it all.

The former Maharaja Palaces are now changing clothes as luxury hotels, but with a “green heart”. An eco-consciousness is carefully considered in its re-development.

The newest palace hotel in Udaipur, Rajasthan, Fateh Garh Palace,  is based on the ancient Indian wisdom to deliver a unique cultural and spiritual experience. Derived from the Urdu word Delivered from Urdu word for victory “Fateh“, and Sanskrit word for fortress “Garh“, Fateh Garh is a resplendent abode indeed, victorious in its fusion of the past, heritage architecture, and today’s eco-concept in modern hospitality.

The historic monument, moved stone by stone on a wooded hill not far from its place of origin, was transformed into a majestic hotel of 51 rooms as the 51 principles of ancient Indian wisdom, themselves drawn from elements of nature (fire, water, earth, wind and space). It is therefore not surprising that 50% of energy requirements of the hotel are provided by solar panels and wind turbines. Appointed themselves as the principle according to Vaastu (which is to take maximum advantage of wind and sun), the rooms offer a unique brightness. Spacious and sophisticated, totally indigenous, they offer superb views on the surrounding hills.

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Green & Chic ~ Juvet Landscape Hotel, Norway

By Dian Hasan | June 10, 2010

When you think of Scandinavian Design you tend to think about an urban setting, with the clean and modern cities that celebrate egalitarianism, civic order, and a perfect blend of old and new design & architecture.

There’s of course the great outdoors where all the raw material and inspiration for the wonderful design comes from. One place where both elements come together in perfect sync is the Juvet Landscape Hotel & Spa in Geirangerfjord, Norway.

Juvet comprises an existing quaint farmhouse, a barn, and seven separate cabin structures scattered in a virgin scenery. Each cabin features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, overlooking the craggy Norwegian setting, with a view of either the farm, river, valley, mountains or the ravine.

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Sleek & Chic | Alila Villas Hadahaa, The Maldives

By Dian Hasan | May 29, 2010

The wait is over! The Maldives proudly welcomes another addition to its basket of splendid resort offerings. It seems that new hotel openings out-dazzling each other. It seems that each new hotel brings something different to this atoll paradise.

And different it is! Alila Villas Hadahaa have arrived, the living embodiment of this Singapore-based hospitality company’s motto: “Surprisingly Different”.

As I reported my September 2009 blog post when only pictures of the mock up villa were available, the real Alila – in flesh – is even more striking and stunning than its blueprint. Opulent design with expected tropical touches, with a golden bathroom fixtures and heavy drapes here and there… are nowhere in sight (Amen, to that!). Instead clean lines, that visibly scream “Bauhaus” are infused into the tropical vegetation on the island. While Villas on the water take on a decidedly geometric look.

One of the most striking designs is the capsized boat, with the hull sticking out like some sort of Bedouin cap. This overturned boat houses the resort’s lounge. A apt move from the creative minds of Singapore-based SCDA Architects. Continue reading

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Green Hotels of the Future | Hilton Bariloche, Argentina


Another fine example of exciting things to come in the area of eco-oriented hotels. The proposed eco-hotel Hilton Bariloche in Argentina. The marriage of architecture – green architecture, that is – and the environment it’s taking advantage of is what’s interesting to see. How the “Green Movement” is affecting hotels and how they in turn go about to accommodate the growing “Green Lifestyle” of travelers seeking and supporting hotels whose mission are no longer service and profit, but increasingly summed into the 3 main traits of: 1. Profit, 2. People, and 3. Planet. Creating profitable businesses that engage the communities around them and respect (for a lack of a better term) the natural environment they are bestowed of caring for. Hence a hotel animal of a very different kind – one with a agreen one!

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Green Hotels of the Future | Monterey Bay Shores, California

By Dian Hasan | September 8, 2009

Monterey Bay Eco Development Project 2

Amid the vibrant movement to “Go Green” and create a “Green Lifestyle” it’s interesting to ponder about the future and peek into what’s in store. Especially in the world of travel, the hospitality industry is clearly at the forefront, fueled by the desire to accommodate the new “Green Lifestyle”, and Branding themselves accordingly. Knowing full well that discerning travelers are a pesky bunch. Additionally, Tourism is recognized as among the world’s biggest industry, with potentially the broadest economic multiplier effect. Here’s one look at what’s in store in eco-progressive Northern California, as reported by Tree Hugger. Transforming an old mining site into a cool eco retreat. Monterey Bay Shores Eco-Development.

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Habita ~ Mexico City’s temple of cool

Habita-DF-MX-Pool Area 2

It’s not difficult to imagine how fast the über cool Habita hotel entered the mindset (quickly followed by vocabulary) of Mexico City’s trendy urban set. Small hotel with attitude, furniture pieces like Eames chairs, and others from B&B Italia, TEN Arquitectos, Hermes toiletries, flat-screen TVs, rooftop chill bar, in-house urban Spa. Befitting the neighborhood of Polanco, Habita plays the trendsetting role like hand in glove.

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The last dragons roaming the earth ~ Komodo Island, Indonesia


The mere mention of the name Komodo, sends shivers down people’s spines. Especially those who know what we’re referring to. A type of giant monitor lizard (Varanus Komodoensis) that lives exclusively on a little island by the same name, east of Bali, Indonesia.  More commonly known as Komodo Dragon, its habitat was declared a natural sanctuary protective area and the Indonesian Government established The Komodo National Park (KNP) in 1980 to ensure this unique species’ survival.

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