Hospitality Design - March 2011 - 48
as authentic as it gets
Hitesh Mehta is the real deal. A world-renowned landscape architect, environmental planner, and architect, and one of the leading authorities on ecotourism in the world, he’s not interested in properties that sorta kinda take the environment into account. No, after 10 years of research, Mehta has developed the following de nition for an ecolodge: a twoto 75-room, low-impact, nature-based, nancially sustainable facility that helps protect sensitive neighboring areas; involves and helps bene t local communities; offers tourists an interpretive and interactive participatory experience; provides a spiritual communion with nature and culture; and is planned, designed, constructed, and operated in an environmentally and socially sensitive manner. His new book, Authentic Ecolodges (Collins Design; $50), is the result of three years of touring the globe scouting out exactly that. The 270-page book (printed on a mixture of reclaimed or recycled material and wood sourced from responsibly managed forests of course) features 36 of some of the world’s most authentic ecolodges, stunning photos, detailed drawings of site plans, professional renderings, and comprehensive text by Mehta himself.
After designing the Cha Women and Children’s Hospitality for client Dr. Kwang Yul Cha, KMD Architects was enlisted again, but this time, to create a facility with a new take on healthcare in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong neighborhood. “The inspiration was the concept of ‘journey’—both physical and metaphorical, along which exploration, discovery, action, and respite can be found,” says Ryan Stevens, principal and design director at KMD of the new Chaum Anti-Aging Life Center. To support the design concept, the lavish medical-meets-spa center explores natural and arti cial lighting and contrasting materials and textures: hard elements like glass, metals, and plastics to natural materials like stone, water, and soft fabrics. “We sought to achieve an aesthetic that balances comfort and calming to reduce stress and heighten resiliency, and one that is a celebration of the frontiers of advanced medical technologies and practices,” he adds.