BLINK RESORTS IN CHINA AND INDIA FOR MARRIOTT, HILTON TAKE SHAPE, ALONG WITH FIRM'S REPUTATION AS LEADING HOSPITALITY ARCHITECTS
Lots of eyes are on Sanya and Goa as two leading resort destinations... so I'm delighted BLINK has put its marker in the sand as architects of note.
BANGKOK, THAILAND - BLINK Design Group's reputation not only as one of Asia's foremost interior design hot shops but also as pure architects of note is growing as two key projects near completion in the world-renowned beach resorts of Sanya and Goa.
The Hilton Goa features interiors created in collaboration with famous Indian fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani and is scheduled to welcome its first guests in 2015. For high res image please click here.
The 300-key Marriott Xiangshui Bay resort in Sanya, Hainan Island is nearing completion, featuring cutting-edge contemporary design and wow factor features by BLINK including a lobby inspired by a folding Chinese paper lantern and a rooftop bar and fitness centre. It will open in 2014 and is not far from the Conrad Sanya, another BLINK masterpiece which scooped the World's Best Luxury Hotel at the Hospitality Design (HD) Magazine Awards in 2012.
In India's most famous resort town, Goa, BLINK is behind a very different kind of Hilton resort, with just 100 keys, arrayed along a steep hillside, and based upon a Colonial-era Goan village, featuring a collaboration on interiors with famous Indian fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani. The Hilton Goa is scheduled to welcome its first guests in 2015
BLINK founder and Creative Director Clint Nagata said both projects represented significant strides forward in establishing the firm's pure architecture credentials, as both were green field sites where BLINK had total control of exterior and interior design in two of Asia's key resort markets.
"Lots of eyes are on Sanya and Goa, as the two leading resort destinations in the two Asian 'superpowers'," he said. "So I'm delighted BLINK has put its marker in the sand as architects of note, as well as burnishing our credentials as one of the region's big players in hospitality interior design."
Other key BLINK projects in China include the new Sheraton Resort Beijing, two new resorts at Benxi's famous hot springs in Liaoning Province, and design of a new Spa-lifestyle Clubhouse in Hefei. The firm recently opened an office in Shanghai, while in India the firm operates an office in New Delhi.
BLINK Associate Director of Architecture and lead architect on the Goa project, Christopher Chua, said designing the resort at Saipem, on a steep hill set back from the beach but boasting spectacular views, had been at once 'challenging and fascinating'.
"This is not your typical beachfront resort, nor is it a typical Hilton. In fact, it's one of the smallest Hiltons to be built," he said. "BLINK's signature is design rooted in the vernacular and a sense of place and this project was no different.
"Our research and delving into local culture and history gave rise to a Goan village concept. The bases of the main structures were inspired by the Portuguese colonial era and Goa's beautiful laterite stone forts, so we have used fort-like walls and laterite widely at the base of the main guest room structures.
The Marriott Xiangshui Bay resort's lobby inspired by a folding Chinese paper lantern is a perfect example of BLINK's commitment to design that reflects the project's location and cultural heritage. For high res image please click here.
"Other features include elegant columns with stone bases, and lots of architraves, mouldings and scallops. Overall though, the design is not replica colonial but something very contemporary and relevant, rooted solidly in Goan culture and traditions.
"There is an open gallery that links the top of the project to the bottom, so the feeling is like, say, Santorini in Greece - you meander up or down the gallery, moving through spaces, winding staircases, little resting places, and there's always a scent of discovery. Features like this developed following an intelligent and thoughtful reading of the Hilton brand standards.
"A key consideration was for the design never to look bulky, rather to be very organic and to blend into the hillside rather than stand out. The arrival experience is designed to be like driving through a shaded green tunnel of trees then deposited at a very formal courtyard on the upper level."
"One of the most exciting aspects of the project was the chance to team up with Tarun Tahiliani," Mr Chua said. "I can't give anything away yet on what we've come up with but our experience in hospitality design and the creativity of Tarun operating in another discipline is going to result in something very special.''
Mr Nagata, who is design lead on the Marriott Resort, said it, too, was a departure for a leading luxury hotel brand. "It's very modern design, very un-Marriott like. There are no red cushions in the lobby, although perhaps the Marriott red subliminally inspired our use of red aluminum paneling on the exterior.
"Most striking is the folding, undulating box that comprises the lobby structure. The original inspiration was a Chinese lantern. It's almost like origami and very different, sitting upon a reflection pond.
"The other thing we did was design a fifth floor rooftop bar and fitness centre. Generally in resorts all the activity takes place around the lobby and ground floor, but the views here of the bay and marina to the rear are so spectacular we just had to do this.
"Most of the rooms enjoy the ocean views but those to the rear look out over the marina, which is also a very pleasant aspect. The latter view is what the rooftop terrace rooms get, as they are behind the bar, and have individual plunge pools, generous outdoor terraces and a real villa feeling even though they are not stand alone structures."
Mr Nagata said he looked forward to the launches of both resorts, and to further fruitful collaborations with projects bearing the Marriott and Hilton badges. BLINK is also the design firm behind the new Regent Phuket and Regent Bali, with Regent properties in Taipei, Indonesia and China also on the drawing board.
Blink Design Group (BLINK) has reinvented the traditional service model to offer clients an integrated stay from Check In to Check Out. BLINK's fully integrated, end-to-end suite of services now spans Advisory, Identity, Master Planning, Architecture and Interior Design. Founded by Clint Nagata in 2006 and operating out of Bangkok, Singapore and New Delhi, the company designs hotels, resorts, restaurants, clubs, spas, and residences for leading global brands. Believing each project is a platform to achieve something extraordinary, BLINK draws on the instincts and intelligence of its inspired team to create icons of design in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.