With the current nature of ‘work from anywhere’ possibility, these dwellings are but ‘second homes’ or sabbatical in a tranquil location bringing in a new dimension to luxury living that is ‘one with nature’…
Nestled amongst the hills of Wayanad, the project—a set of 15 villas— is designed to intertwine harmoniously with the natural landscape. The experience of everyday living by allying with Mother Earth was re-imagined in designing and creating these dwellings that are in harmony with oneself and the natural environment. The advent of ultra-high-speed internet, the ability to now work from anywhere in the world, and the abundant availability of conveniences for everyday living has led the architects to pioneer a new philosophy in living, called ‘reverse urbanization’. Severed by the modern, urban-centric lifestyles and changes in the way of life brought about by today’s work culture, there is now, more than ever, a need for balance and a longing for man to reconnect with nature. A longing fulfilled by the establishment of a second home that is ‘one with nature’.
Drawing inspiration from the grammar of ‘mountain lodges’ and the native design aesthetic, the project showcases an interplay of stone and wood. Staying true to the eco-friendly ethos, the villas are crafted with natural materials—with wooden flooring, random-rubble walls, cobblestone pathways and log rafters—and are designed ‘around nature, rather than on it’, such that the existing flora and natural features such as boulders, play their part in enhancing this carefully designed living experience.
Enveloped by natural contours and sloping hillside, the architecture is perched on three distinct levels. The first and second levels house the spacious residence while the third level comprises the exterior deck with an infinity pool surrounded by lily ponds. Each deck is designed in such a way that it has unobstructed view of the forest. The infinity pool is surrounded by ecosystemic lily ponds.
The exterior deck is highlighted by stone flooring finished with black oxide. The railing is made out of Eucalyptus poles. Surrounded by a lily pond adjoining the infinity pool, the outdoor dining space is designed to provide unobstructed view of the wilderness. The ‘harmony’ deck perched on stilts has dining chairs, crafted from finest teak that elevate the beauty of wood in its original form.
Set amidst the lily pond and the infinity pool, the gazebo is crafted entirely out of natural materials. A thoughtfully designed roof made of unfinished log rafters and clay tiles is supported by four sturdy wooden poles thus creating the perfect viewing deck from the third level of the villa. Underneath the ‘gazebo’ is a daybed to relax and unwind.
The signature bay window brings natural light into the space with a view of the lush landscape around. An addition to the expansive rooms, the exterior side of the bay window is covered with thick wooden poles inspired by the concept of mountain lodges.
The grandeur of the walkway is complemented by the high glass joinery all around. A walk through this unique ‘bridge’ connects one to nature. The lighting design is envisioned in such a way that it follows the architecture as one descends. Made out of granite, the steps are lit by automated lights.
A private retreat within the larger sanctuary, the master bedroom is an opulent space designed to be one with nature with a private deck adjoining the space providing views of the surrounding wilderness. Sturdy and bold, the wooden bed is crafted from robust teak wood. The hardwood floors are made of rich teak. The accent wall with rough-textured stone contrasts the wood all around.
Set amidst a courtyard, the latest creation, among the signature outdoor baths, the organic shower tray with stepping stones is surrounded by lush foliage and natural boulders. The interplay of light and shadow is brought about by the Eucalyptus poles on the ceiling, with their natural oils and distinct texture. Made out of brass, the bathroom fixtures add an antique charm to the rustic stone wall. Mounted on the counter, is a black granite wash basin elegantly chiselled from a natural rock. The wooden cabinetry below the counter is finished with hand-crafted wooden knobs that portray close attention to detail.
Reimagined as an expansive powder room, this spacious bath is accentuated by the branch of a tree that contrasts the clean-cut mirror, thus amplifying the outdoor effect. An abundance of natural light through the skylight falls on the stone wall highlighting the crude textures of natural stone. The wardrobes are characterized by mirrors that face each other creating an illusion. The hand-crafted wooden knobs and black iron rivets add character to the doors of the wardrobes and cabinets.
With sustainability as the core idea, up-cycled wood from construction is crafted into switchboards while maintaining its organic shape. The skilled craftsmen and a team of passionate carpenters, created and built hand-crafted furniture and fixtures in-house. Every element of the villas is made at site including the switch boards, joinery, kitchen counters, shower tray and cabinetry. The custom-made antique brass tumbler switch adds a vintage charm complementing the natural texture of the wall. Each piece with its distinct personality elevates the beauty of teak wood in its original form combined with cane, weaved by local artisans. Carved with nature-inspired motifs, the apron of the chair compliments the handpicked natural upholstery which is carefully chosen to tread lightly on the environment. The supports are characterized by tapered ends with subtle detailing.
To do the bit towards environmental sustainability, the entire site has been afforested with over 8000 endemic species of trees. With the eco-friendly landscape measures adopted, the project is now home to a variety of native birds, butterflies and other creatures.
Project: Stone Lodges – Private Residences, Wayanad, Kerala
Architects: Earthitects, Bengaluru
Principal architect: Ar. George E. Ramapuram
Design team: George E. Ramapuram, Irene Koshy, Muhammad Jamaal, Dhyana Priyadarshini, Felicia Niveditha, Meme Chauhan
Built-up area: 7320sq ft (area of one residence);
Plot area: 26,500sq ft (area of one residence)
Year of completion: 2019 (one residence)