The purity of form.
This is an exclusive sneak preview I am excited to share. When Melbourne architect, Kristin Green first showed me the photographs of her partially built La Plage Du Pacifique in Vanuatu, shot by Peter Bennetts, I was astounded by both the monumentality and that it stripped my expectations of what a Pacific island resort could look like.
This resort is already looking so incredibly unique, and its only half built. I am so glad Kristin took the opportunity to engage Peter to capture the resort in its partially built state as one can truly appreciate the complex interplay of curve walls, pure solid forms, varying proportioned archways and buttresses in the simplicity of rustic concrete, sans ornamentation or other materiality.
To me the images evoke that of ancient ruins of an unknown culture in paradise. Perhaps Carthage or Babylonia?
I quizzed Kristin on the use of concrete as being an unusual departure from the expected thatched roof bamboo huts one expects of a pacific island resort. To her it was a natural response to use the local sand and aggregate from the site to build a resort of its earth, that can actually withstand the barrage of tropical cyclones and occasional earthquake the country endures.
We can already see the well worn paths in the sand from construction workers. Will these form future landscaped paths for guests who have the pleasure of holidaying in this serene part of the world?
From the air you can see the unique comma shaped bungalows, , , , , , , a place and time for a pause in life.
I have travelled in Vanuatu, and this place is soooo chilled and friendly that the even British and French peacefully co-manage the 65 inhabited Islands for 200 years as a protectorate, until independence in 1980. Most of the Ni-Vanuatu (one doesn’t say Vanutuans), speak 3 languages; French or English plus the official Bislama and their native island tongue of which there are 113! Cultural facts on a design blog!
The interiors are lofty spaces to dream away as you watch the light filter in through the screened windows inspired by local tapa patterns.
I cant help but reference Louis Kahn’s first National Assembly in Dhaka, yet dare I say, I prefer Kristin’s organic texture of the concrete cast in timber formwork, to Louis’ brickwork.
The memory of timber formwork, combined with the drips on the buttresses is sublime.
Now that’s a monumental buttress-staircase to make emperor Augustus envious.
I hope one day not too far off to spend some time here making up cocktails. How about naming one “Long Island Ice Blong Blong”?
Photos by Peter Bennetts.