Designed on Site: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    With its remote location, steep terrains, and copious amounts of boulders, the site for Four Seasons Resort Seychelles provides the ultimate challenge even for the most seasoned architects. But with a little dream and imagination, Cheong Yew Kuan, the principal architect of Singapore-based Area Design, transformed it into a world-class paradise.Kuan designed the Resort on-site after spending many hours surveying the land. A combination of steep, rocky terrain, building codes, sensitivity to the guest experience and concern for the environment led him to the tree-house concept. By lifting the villas off the ground, the habitat of the ground animals is left intact, and the rain water flows as it always has, allowing the foliage to grow.

    Due to the demands of the terrain and the location of the trees that Kuan chose not to cut, every villa is different in its exact configuration and the way it is located on site. Each of the 67 tree-house villas and suites comes with a private plunge pool, outdoor rain shower and pavilion with a daybed, perfected by stunning views of the azure waters of Petite Anse bay and the Indian Ocean.

    On this pristine site, the challenge was to insert many square meters of new construction into a fragile and sensitive eco-system. Destruction of the ecology was kept to a minimum and trees that were unfortunately cleared were recycled in the timber flooring of Kannel restaurant.

    Boulders that were removed were reused as granite cladding for walls throughout the Resort. A cradle of biological diversity, the wetland located behind Kannel restaurant was left untouched so that numerous animals and plants can continue to thrive. It also prevents flooding by serving as a barrier for coastal erosion during high tides.

    The design of the Resort is intended to blend with the island architecture. The villas are folksy but sophisticated, reflecting a Creole influence. Whitewashed timber walls contrast the surrounding natural palette, and French antiques are offset by rustic driftwood pieces.

    Reflecting the life of the early settlers in Seychelles, the main buildings in the Resort – such as the lobby, library and restaurant – follow the colonial French and European styles. The Recreation Club area is inspired by old plantation buildings such as the smokehouses where coconuts were once cured. One such building is the Foumba (“old house” in Creole) that stands solidly behind Kannel restaurant. The rustic and natural charm of the ruins presents it as the perfect venue for events under the stars, accompanied by a soothing symphony of the ocean waves.

    In the 2010 HD Awards, presented by Hospitality Design magazine, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles emerged the winner in two categories: Best Overall Resort Design and Best Luxury Guestroom/ Suite Design.

    Daniel Fountain / 26.07.2010

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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