In this post we are taking a look at some of the winners of the NDTV Design and Architecture Awards. This year, a jury of eminent people like Gerard da Cunha, Michael Foley, Yatin Patel, Suhasini Ayer, Rahul Dalvi, Parul Zaveri and Nisha Mathew Ghosh came together to decide winners across many categories, like Heritage Architecture, Socially Relevant Design and Landscape Award. Today, we will look at a couple winners in the landscape category, from the hospitality sector.
Java Rain, Chikmagalur
An enterprising couple who owns multiple restaurants and lounge bars in Bangalore decided to create a green luxury resort in the middle of coffee country, in Chikmagalur, Karnataka. Java Rain is nestled in the middle of a coffee estate, close to Mullayanagiri Hills. The five acre resort houses 18 villas that offer varying degrees of luxury amidst some innovative landscaping. Java Rain’s outdoors have been meticulously planned and brought to life by Ficus Landscape Architects from Bangalore. Their work won them an NDTV award in the landscape category.
Their design weaves together pre-sited buildings and roads into a series of transitions. Buffers between villas offer a change in scene from the silver oaks dotting the property. An infinity pool beckons. And wandering through the space you get a sense of being lost in a coffee forest, surrounded by nature on all sides. Public and private activity is kept separate with a clever use of shrubbery, thoughtfully lit trails, tastefully laid out exterior zones with Zen buddha statues are an unexpected find. And the distant vista of the Mullayanagiri hills appear as a surprise, playing hide and seek from amongst the buildings and the trees.
The Windflower, Prakruthi Bangalore
Close to the Bangalore airport, the Windflower Prakruthi resort lives up to its name, by making nature the hero of the experience. The award-winning team responsible for the landscape design is from 3Fold Design. Spread across two acres, the property is a favourite with business travelers, groups from corporates from Bangalore, and families who want to relax, not so far away from the city. Well-tended to patches of square gardens sit adjacent to profusions of tropical plants, offering some relief to tired eyes. Wide channels with water flow by, with lotuses bobbing on the surface. Guests can even spy a swan or two swimming stately. They can go for a walk and pretend they are in a tropical grove with coconuts trees towering above, cycle around the property, try their hand at Zorbing or other activities, or just lay about in the grass staring at the sky.
Mana Resort, Ranakpur, Rajasthan
Last year’s winning team for landscape design were Plan Loci, New Delhi. The firm was recognized for their work on Mana Resort, in Ranakpur Rajasthan. Located in the picturesque valley of the Aravallis, on the road that connects Udaipur and Jodhpur, Mana offers affordable luxury close to sites of tourist interest, like the Jain Temple and the historic Kumbhalgarh Fort. The Mana resort is home to 49 rooms spread over 3.5 acres of green. Thoughtfully planned, the space includes cottages, a spa, swimming pool, and indoor and outdoor sport facilities. Mana is designed for earth-friendly travelers, and as an organization they have gone to great pains to reduce their carbon footprint and maintain their commitment to being environmentally-friendly. Keeping the coming generations in mind, the people responsible for Mana also invested in rainwater harvesting, water recycling and geothermal cooling systems to ensure that their properties stay cool in the scorching Rajasthan summers.
And this consciousness permeated their actions, even before they began construction. For instance, they decided to not cut any trees on site for building or landscaping purposes. And were willing to change the designs and layouts to leave the green cover untouched. Mana Hotels CEO, Mr. Rohan Rajgarhia has spoken about this decision saying, “Our architect Mr. Akshat Bhatt & our landscape consultant Mrs. Gauri Sehgal Gandhi brought to our notice the fact that the oldest tree on site was intersecting with our main hotel building. This tree was a ‘Badd’ species with the foliage cover spreading over a diameter of 30 meters. The easiest path for us would have been to cut down the tree. However, the management, keeping in mind the long-term goals of sustainable development with responsibility towards the environment decided to re-work the design. Our decision led to a financial and time loss to the project. But more importantly it was an apt manifestation of our values for all the individuals and organizations working with us on this project.” Not surprisingly, this conscious approach and the work put in by Plan Loci, the architects and landscape consultants was recognized by the NDTV Jury, who honoured their work in 2017.
At Palmex India, we are constantly striving to help businesses be more sustainable during construction and remodeling, by offering artificial thatch solutions that are a greener alternative to stripping trees to harvest leaves. Our material’s long life also ensures that the roof looks just as good as natural thatch does but lasts for decades without needing to be replaced. Do get in touch with us for future-proof, reliable roofing solutions. And watch this space for more news about hospitality projects that put nature front and centre.
Preeti Prakash | Journalist