WOW Architects nominated for World Architecture Festival Awards 2015 for St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

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StRegisWOW Architects | Warner Wong Design, a Singaporean architecture and design firm, has been nominated for the prestigious World Architecture Festival Awards 2015 under the Future Leisure Led Development category for its design of the upcoming St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort.

In a statement released by the company, they explain that the way local Maldivian people ‘live in a delicate balancing act with nature’ inspired the design of the resort. The announcement states: “When we were given an opportunity to design a Maldivian resort hotel, we chose to delight the senses through education, creating awareness, and new paradigms of interacting with the physical environment. Here, paradise is emotionally and intellectually experienced and enjoyed, but with a profound awareness of the complex relationships of the eco systems being inhabited.”

The statement goes on to explain the logistics of designing a property with ‘low impact and high experiential return’ saying that the process “is completely defined by the economics of building and operating costs” which in turn defines the physical design solution. Drawing attention to the fact that “up to 45% of costs is non-building related logistics”, WOW Architects explain that in order to build sensitively, and minimally, a high price tag is inevitable. Isolation and privacy in a remote setting, they say, has a higher price. The reward, of course, is an “enrichment of the senses and the heightened intellectual awareness of the habitats being occupied.”

The concept of the island was based on the different ‘experiential zones’ in the resort  and the resort’s 77 Villas are divided up into these different areas. WOW Architects explains the layout saying “The  Each zone has unique anchoring activities: The Lagoon zone has a water amphitheatre and a signature spa, the Beach zone two signature restaurants, the jungle zone has a nature discovery centre and a pop up cafe, the coastal zone has a dive centre and a signature bar. Threading through these activities is an art trail where the seasonal work of artists in residence showcase pop up installations using found objects and locally sourced materials.”

The landscape concept is very much in keeping with traditional Maldivian island ecosystems and the landscape design focuses around conserving the existing flora and fauna and replacing that which will have been displaced during the construction period with locally sourced specimens. Some plant species will be introduced in some areas for the creation special programmes, such as the edible garden and the nature trail.

Causing minimum impact during construction is a great concern for the firm. As such they have chosen to use a pre-fabricated, environmentally-friendly timber system and have minimised the use of concrete and steel. In addition, wherever possible local labour was hired to work with the firm’s specialist contractors. Local craftsman are also being hired to create arts and crafts for the interiors.

The resort is set to open in 2016, on a private island in Dhaalu Atoll, located 40 minutes away from the airport by seaplane.