Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
The Grand Bliss in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico by AHA Universo, Arturo Hernández (Principal)
February 27th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
The name of the latest product in Grupo Vidanta’s resort portfolio says it all: The Grand Bliss. The challenge presented to architecture firm AHA Universo was to create a place where bliss could happen naturally; where guests could reconnect with a simpler, more natural state of mind, while feeling indulged and pampered. The design, therefore, was created with happiness in mind.
The central volume of the building, which holds the guest suites, is a rectangular shape with a slight curve, reminiscent of a sail that has been slightly drafted by the gentle Coromell winds. Floor-to-ceiling windows and thin, metallic tubular banisters give this ten-story building an unexpected feeling of lightness. A second, circular volume on the ground floor and mezzanine level provides ample space for the lobby, lobby bar and a large-scale sales office.
The orientation provides two very different but equally impressive views: On the West, the man-made lakes and exuberant vegetation of the resort complex give way to the Pacific Ocean; On the East, the sun rises above the mountains of the Sierra Madre, which overlook an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
As you enter the lobby of The Grand Bliss, you are immediately transported to an exotic land. A set of wicker seating areas invites you to take a moment before heading to the check-in desk. Behind the desk, a striking wall design portraying a red macaw in a green and gold environment brings a sense of adventure to an otherwise sober space. Raw silk and cotton, in nude colors, were selected as upholstery fabrics, bringing elegance and tranquility to this large, open area.
All columns are enveloped in a woven covering that resembles traditional Mexican baskets and keeps them in harmony with the natural theme. A subtle orange accent emanates from the recessed lighting in the ceiling, providing a modern balance to a series of crystal chandeliers. Signaling the path towards the elevators are parallel rows of irregularly shaped red planters that remind us of lit tiki torches. To give a visual break between the path and the actual elevators, an original room divider was created from untreated tree branches.
The woven theme and nude colors continue into the Lobby Bar, this time with plush armchairs and elegant side tables in Sonoran Ironwood. The pièce de résistance in this environment is a custom hand-painted panoramic paper by British firm de Gournay, depicting a tropical Garden of Eden in black, white and shades of grey. The bar itself is quite spectacular, made of granite atop a base of backlit stained-glass squares in yellows and greens. The pattern continues into a ceiling-height stained-glass window to one side of the bar. As the sun begins to set, multicolor luminosity filters into the room in a graceful, modern interpretation of light in a Cathedral.
Inside the guest suites, you will find a welcoming environment where the predominant textures are wood and natural fabrics in white. In the bedrooms, plush bedding is accented by orange pillows and oil paintings of rural landscapes bring light and color into the room. The living areas are equipped with a fully-functioning kitchen in Ironwood veneer with stainless steel appliances.
Ash wood dining room tables and chairs with the understated charm of 20th Century Scandinavian design, were toned down with a white-wash, giving them a definite ocean feel. Spacious living rooms give way to a balcony equipped with lounge furniture and a plunge pool where you can relax and watch the waves break on the sandy beach.
Contact AHA Universo, Arturo Hernández (Principal)