In the modern era, thoughts of luxury can also beget feelings of guilt. The GFC and climate change issues have left most of the world, not to mention the building industry, rightly moving away from excess.
Of course, luxury does necessarily have to mean excess. In fact, sometimes the best elements of luxury design cost nothing at all from either a monetary or environmental standpoint. While this really shouldn’t come as a surprise, it sometimes does.
The stunning ‘I Resort’ located in Nha Trang, Vietnam, designed by architectural firm a21studĩo, shows just how luxury does not need to mean financial or environmental sacrifice. Set in a location that is stunning in and of itself, the resort, which specializes in mud baths and offerings natural hot springs, is luxurious, relaxing and extremely beautiful.
It is also naturally climate controlled.
The temperate local clime means almost all rooms and other areas have been designed with a focus on indoor/outdoor connectivity, which obviously takes care of ventilation through natural means. Apart from the various structural elements – generally timber-framed buildings with thatched roofs – all other solar shading is achieved naturally with local flowers and plants. Local rocks, found wood and coconut leaves make up the interior architecture and furniture.
With a sophistication that is almost simplistic in its execution, internal gardens and an interior pool cool the spaces. Carefully selected protective rooftop materials protect from excess solar gain while deflecting heat further to aid this process.
While I Resort takes eco-friendly luxury to an extreme, many tropical destinations use some or all of these principles in their own architecture and interior design models.
Why then is it such a task to convince many, both within and outside of the building industry, that beautiful, comfortable interiors can be created without an excessive reliance on on-grid energy? While I Resort’s design is not suitable to every clime and lifestyle, the ideas behind it can be adapted and it is up to designers to break down the ‘green’ stigma and remind consumers and industry members that sustainable design and development can achieve functional, environmental and beautiful results.