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Tropical splendour in Bali

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Seminyak, Bali villas by Alessandro Landi

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Privacy and seclusion are prerequisites for a luxury tropical villa – so too is a sense of spa-like tranquillity.

But it is the proximity to water that best conveys the essence of a Balinese retreat.

The site now occupied by the villas featured on these pages has always had a close connection with nature – it was once laid out in rice fields.

Today, however, the water is tamed, with private pools and lush landscaping creating idyllic retreats for owners and guests staying in the villas.

Developed by Much More Bali and designed by husband and wife team Alessandro Landi and Arlyn Buendia of Landi Designs, the Much More Seminyak Villas reflect the Balinese architectural heritage, in both their passive design and detailing.

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"The villas are laid out in pairs, on an east-west axis, which best suited the long, narrow site. This ensured there would be sun on the gardens and pools all day. It also meant the villas benefit from cross ventilation," says Landi.

The villas have a steel construction, but this is concealed. Posts and I-beams are wrapped in bamboo timber, giving the buildings a warm, natural look.

Landi also introduced two feature walls to each villa, which are clad in rectangular rough-faced slate laid in a random pattern.

"The contrasting textures add plenty of visual interest," he says. "So, too does the oblique angle of the walls. The larger, central wall is wider at the top, and tapers towards the ground, while the other wall does the reverse. The visual weight of the stone is balanced by the irregular geometry of the walls, so there is a sense of lightness. The walls appear to support the roof, which slants up to open the interior to the courtyard and sky."

The interior decor plays a major role in delivering the resort-style aesthetic. Just as the sleek glass is juxtaposed with stone on the exterior, so the interior is defined by contrasting textural elements. Backlit onyx illuminates the front of kitchen islands and bedroom furniture.

Glass and mirrored wall panels enhance the sense of space and transparency, reflecting the ambient lighting and tropical foliage. In contrast, there are fossilised wood and bamboo bases for coffee tables, and ebony veneer. All the materials provide a strong visual link with the outdoors.

"Being inside a villa is like being in an outdoor room, especially with all the doors open," says Landi. "Wherever possible I have used frameless glass doors to enhance this seamless connection. And with tiered landscaping right around the villas, residents are enveloped by greenery."

Landi designed the villas so there is a clear line of sight from one end to the other. With the doors between rooms open, there is an uninterrupted view right to the outdoors.

Although the crisp, modern architecture has a strongly linear look, this is softened by the furnishings. Area rugs, and coffee tables are mostly circular, and chairs, tables, beds and pendant lights have organic, sculptural forms. Walls in the bedroom suites are clad in teakwood panels with a vertical pattern similar to the slate feature pillars.

Narrow halogen beams direct focused spots of warm light to the feature walls and outdoor decks and gardens. Various lamps handmade in rattan by local craftsmen convey a sense of cosiness and intimacy, one of the key design objectives.

With full-height glass walls, bathrooms are light filled, and the lines between inside and out blurred, so there is a strong sense of being a part of the natural environment.

"Here, again, textures play an important role," says Landi. "Some of the vanities with black glass bases also have translucent glass shelving. The glass is contrasted by dark granite tops – light versus heavy, dark versus light."

First published date: 06 October 2013

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Credit List

Development Much More Seminyak Villas (Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia)
Architect Alessandro Landi, Landi Designs (Bali)
Builder IWM Constructions
Doors and windows Frameless tempered glass by Dekkson & OMG Hardware
Flooring Polished andesite
Decking Merbau timber
Wallcoverings Slate feature walls, mirror, teak wood panels and doors
Paints Kem-Tone
Furniture Custom by Landi Designs
Curtains Sheers in natural linen with blackout drapes
Kitchen cabinets Plywood construction with two-pack gloss
Countertops Black granite
Backsplash Black glass
Refrigeration Samsung
Bathtub Toto enamelled steel
Vanity unit Teak wood
Basins, taps and shower fittings Toto