Luxury Resort in Bali Pays Homage to Traditional Village Design
A luxury resort in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia added to numerous stunning projects of sustainable architecture in the region. Designed by Dutch architectural practice OMA founded by Rem Koolhaas, Desa Potato Head resort is designed not only for guests but also for the local community, challenging the model of self-contained exclusivity typical of resorts in the region. It is inspired by the area’s traditional villages, and the resort’s layout recalls this through the use of traditional Balinese building techniques and reclaimed materials.
“At Desa Potato Head we’re not trying to change the industry, we want to create an entirely new model for it,” says Potato Head founder and Indonesian hotelier Ronald Akili, as quoted by Design Milk.
Inspired by the raised courtyards of Indonesia, OMA has lifted Potato Head Studios (one of three buildings, that contains the private guest rooms, a sunset bar, and an exhibition space, and, alongside Katamama and the Beach Club, forms the Desa Potato Head) on pilotis, creating an open cultural space below which leads to the beach and provides a flexible platform for festival celebrations, cultural events, and day-to-day leisure activities that are open to guests and locals alike – something that is particularly important when you consider that the development is located on one of the last remaining beachfront sites in Seminyak.
The roof gardens were also conceived as a public space and feature a sculpture park with sea views, accessible via a public route that zig-zags up the floating complex, connecting communal spaces such as restaurants, pools, and spas.
“The essence of Bali lies in the interaction between different cultures,” explains architect and OMA partner David Gianotten. “Our design for the Potato Head Studios offers both private guest rooms and facilities, and public spaces, to encourage exchange between different kinds of users.”
“The Potato Head Studios is a resort for open engagement rather than private consumption,” he continues. “It is a new space for the community where visitors of all kinds – hotel guests and the general public – experience contemporary Balinese culture, while making it.”
Extensive planting softens the imposing concrete structure and where possible materials are locally sourced and recycled – such as woven ceiling made from recycled PET (plastic bottles) made by local artisans, adding tactility, while respecting the Balinese arts and crafts tradition and the environment.
Handcrafted breezeblock walls cast light and shadows in geometric patterns – and elsewhere “ijuk” – a traditional thatched roofing material – is used.
The bedrooms feature built-in bespoke wooden furniture and locally sourced artworks, and the pink terrazzo flooring is made from waste concrete.
What: Desa Potato Head
Where: Jalan Petitenget No.51B, Seminyak, Kuta Utara – Kabupaten, Badung, Bali – 80361
How much: From $158 for two people for one night
Highlights: Potato Head’s cultural programming includes chocolate making, woodcarving, local walking tours, beach yoga, and an impressive line-up of DJs and live music events.