Kagi Maldives Hot Spring Island / Architecture by Yuji Yamazaki
Text description provided by the architects. Our design mission was to satisfy our client’s intent and purpose, which is to create a place that combines the pristine nature of the Maldivian island with the well-being of the guests. From our point of view for this island, well-being comes from the vast private space which is safe, at the same time as it is open to the surrounding nature. Also, we think it is crucial to convey the right balance between the feeling of loneliness and socialization.
When designing the master plan, it became important to maximize the views from certain key locations. We have placed 40 water villas and 10 beach villas. Each villa has been designed to have a front terrace with a swimming pool facing stunning views of the Indian Ocean. This is where a vast private and safe space meets one of the wildest marine species in the world. We hope that visitors will find here the feeling of solitude, as well as the feeling of being part of nature.
Socialization between guests and staff is important to the well-being of a remote island like this. Architecturally, we have created two poles on the island: the spa complex to the south and a restaurant complex to the west. These public buildings are designed to provide ample additional space and encourage not only crowd-free socializing, but also privacy without isolation.
The thermal complex puts people at the heart, creating a place of calm ideal for well-being. The lagoon and a ring-shaped building form a seamless whole: reception, retail, wellness cafe, treatment rooms, relaxation lounges, gym, yoga studio, the hammams are arranged radially, and all supported by a common open center ‘pod’ for the guests to rejuvenate mind, body and soul. The entire shell-shaped building has a total footprint of 1,400 square meters, making it one of the largest spa facilities in the country.
For the catering complex, our first study showed that a minimum of 1,600 m² of space was needed for 100 guests. The dining rooms, lounges, bar, wine cellar and kitchen are also arranged radially with a common center of a herb garden to convey a sense of openness, where local horticulture is showcased and interacted by guests. Restaurant/bar seating has been arranged to give the options of indoor or outdoor, natural breeze or air conditioned, private or public. The total footprint has been increased to 3,200 square meters to accommodate these features and flexibilities.
In order to protect the existing ecosystem, the plant materials of the landscape are preserved, indigenous. Coconut Palm (Dhivehi Ruh), Sea Lettuce (Magoo), Ironwood (Kuredhi), Beach Hibiscus (Dhigga), Screw Pine (Boa Kashikeya) are some of the dominant plants. Often we see beautifully manicured landscapes with exotic plants in Maldivian resorts, but we believe the introduction of imported plants can lead to unintended results within a holistic ecosystem in the country. There is an ecosystem in place attached to the existing islands in the area and this was part of our crucial mission to minimize change. In autumn, it is expected to see the migration of birds returning to the island.