In these hyperconnected times, being able to bask in the beauty of unspoilt nature can be a luxury in itself. Soon to open from 31 July, a new island resort plans to make that experience greener and more intimate, through its eco-conscious approach towards luxury travel.
Situated in Indonesia’s Anambas archipelago, the cluster of six islands that form Bawah Island remain relatively untouched, due to the eco-conscious construction methods of its architecture and interiors. To keep it that way, the island will only host up to 70 guests at any one time, across its 300 hectares of land. Bawah Island is three hours from Singapore and accessible via a short ferry ride from Batam followed by a 75-minute private seaplane.
Another perk for visitors from Singapore is its proximity to our city—you’ll reach the resort within three hours. “The resort though extensive, sits discreetly and organically in its setting,” shares Sim Boon Yang, the Eco-id founding partner and architect behind the design of the luxury resort. Here, he reveals the design details that went into the making of this holiday retreat.
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The deliberately rustic exteriors of the villas echoes the resort’s commitment to caring for the environment. “Bawah Island’s sustainable design ethos is about designing the architecture and interiors for optimum comfort while minimising its energy requirements and having a light impact on the environment,” says Sim. The resort’s remote setting also inspired the decision to make all of the resort structure to be designed entirely in bamboo. “These were harvested from plantations in Java, prefabricated and shipped for assembly on the island. Once on site, the villa bamboo tented structure could be erected in a week,” shares the architect.
Run your toes through the powdery sand, listen to the sound of the crashing waves and meditate, while on this private island. “Sustainable travel is also about introducing a new type of luxury of going barefoot, living simply and being aware of the beauty around us,” shares Sim. This experience is enhanced by efforts to preserve the natural splendour found on the private island resort, which boasts three lagoons, 13 beaches, as well as lush jungle canopy. To limit the clearing of mature island flora, structures were built on footings that require minimal interference with the natural terrain. To preserve as much of the coral reef as possible, the coral heads were also moved by a team of local sea cucumber divers using primitive gear, before the jetty was being constructed.
Reignite that child-like curiosity on this island retreat, as you explore all of its natural abundance. “The seclusion of the island and its rich flora and fauna inspire the concept that this resort is part of a botanical expedition on a lost island,” explains the architect. “The guest is the explorer botanist—his inner childhood is awakened by the design of the resort.” The boathouse for instance, which was built entirely from salvaged logs, is a huge primitive hut that “evokes the boyhood imaginations of being an island castaway”; the dining room and bar pavilions were designed like tree houses to offer panoramic views of the neighbouring islands while being amongst the leafy canopy.