Nusa Ceningan Resort (Bali), Indonesia

Developed for a Hong Kong-based hospitality enterprise, we proposed concepts for a mid-market resort on Nusa Ceningan, a small island off Bali, Indonesia. Linked to Bali itself first by boat trip, then by a single suspension bridge between the larger Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan is a hot, dry and less-traveled corner of Bali province. Our proposal was to carefully settle a long, rectangular envelope into the steep terrain and to wrap the interior spaces in a varied bamboo screen, allowing breezes to ventilate while shading the interiors from the harsh sun. Nestled in the landscape to focus on wide, expansive views across a straight to Nusa Penida beyond, the envelope was to be camouflaged by its brown, bamboo outer skin sitting in Nusa Ceningan’s browner, scrubbier vegetation and rocky landscape. A recurring technique in our projects, through this camouflage we sought to minimise visual impact of the resort on its landscape and allow the architecture itself to sit behind the experience of the island. On approach to the resort, the bamboo screen would be revealed to be perforated and operable, producing a variety of visual and textural effects through different weaves, sizes and spacing that related to the level of privacy that the rooms behind required.

Inside the bamboo screen-wrapped envelope, this main building and first stage of the development was to house communal rooms including bar, restauraunt, pool and multi-function hall/room inside the timber and bamboo structure. The repeated, modular structure could subsequently be expanded to accommodate further stages of the resort. Individual accommodation rooms were proposed as free-standing ‘pods’ scattered throughout the bamboo envelope, proposing an alternative to the de-centralized planning of the Balinese village often appropriated in resort design.

We proposed that by scattering free-standing pods inside a structure that was architecturally unified would produce a unique hospitality offering. Further, through conceiving of the circulation spaces as a series of interconnected communal rooms for informal use by the patrons, we sought to blur the boundaries between often insular resort-retreats and the opportunity for communal and informal interactions outside the privacy of individual rooms. By penetrating the long, consistent roof with a series of skylights, lightwells, impluviums/wells and courtyards, we proposed a varied spatial experience wherein the relationship between outside and inside was eroded, while the unifying screen element provided privacy and security to patrons.

After our initial concepts were submitted, the only suspension bridge link between Nusa Ceningan and the larger Nusa Lembongan island (and from there to Bali) collapsed during a Hindu festival due to lack of ongoing maintenance. Several lives were lost in the collapse. The project has subsequently been put on permanent hiatus.