Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club, Thekkady wins the Best Hospitality Architecture Award at The Forbes India Design Awards 2019

The awards from Forbes India, the Indian iteration of the global business magazine, Forbes, chose Cardamom Club for its unconventional design that marries the picturesque natural location with great design.
Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club, a premier retreat on the edge of the verdant Periyar National Park, home to some of South India’s densest population of wildlife including elephants, has won the Best Hospitality Architecture Award at The Forbes India Design Awards 2019.
The debut awards were judged by 11 of India’s accomplished architects who reviewed projects in two categories—Architecture and Interiors, the two pivotal arms of design. The jury members chose multi-faceted winners representing a cross-section of dynamic architectural and design practices from the country, judged on the criteria of innovation, sustainability and an unconventional approach to design.

Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club, designed by Bengaluru-based architectural studio Kumar La Noce, was chosen for its inventive design in a landscape as pristine as Thekkady. The beautiful retreat spreads across a lush network of cardamom plantations on steep terrain in the forest-covered Thekkady. In their reasons why they chose to present The Best Hospitality Architecture Award to Cardamom Club, the jury stated, “The site also includes an open-to-air pool with adjacent stepped decks and a spa block divided into three interconnected volumes, all of them raised on stilts. The villa structures, envisioned as light and elegant floating volumes, are in sync with the site’s natural harmony and have been crafted out of rich reddish Bangkirai hardwood sourced from sustainably managed plantations.”

The design language adopted the architects to build the minimal cottages are modern, and yet inspired by the exquisite natural surroundings, a convergence of beauty with structure. The Garden-view cottages are reminiscent of the homes of the native Manan tribe from the region. The shower areas in some of the bath suites are topped by a glass canopy to allow both light and the green landscape to permeate the interiors. The stilted cottages, on the other hand, have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer unobstructed views of the cardamom hills carpeted with spice gardens and the organically growing jungle beyond.

The spacious outdoor decks are perfect for unhindered interaction with nature and wildlife. These glass-enclosed cabins are as much about the intense green outdoors as they are about their minimal design. In the night, they resemble lit-up floating cabins that emerge from within the landscape, like beacons of light.

The cabins, raised on stilts over the dense forest, are part of three interconnected volumes, which include the outdoor pool with adjacent stepped decks and a spa block. The ingenuity of the design lies in the elegant design of the cabins, which ensures that the spotlight firmly stays on the outdoors. The cabins are punctuated by glass windows in strategic portions to reflect the outdoors when they are shut, and offer views of the majestic mountains when they are open. Bhavana Kumar, co-architect on the project says, “The 40sq.m cabins feature floor-to-ceiling wood-framed openings that are designed to enhance the impact of the dramatic views while ensuring privacy. The structures are envisioned as light floating volumes in order not to disturb the natural harmony,” says Kumar. “They blend in harmoniously with the abundance of nature.”

The architecture of the mountain-view cabins reference the wood and glass enclosures of the village shops and plantation cottages in and around Kumily town, which lies on the edge of Thekkady. The floating cabins are minimal so that the focus stays centred on the outdoors. The wood and glass-swathed interiors, with a pop of colour, are luxuriously outfitted with hand-crafted teak wood and rattan furniture, rice paper light fixtures and en suite bathrooms. As the forest and the plantations are the real stars here, even the shower areas have porthole windows framing the view like picture windows.

The alchemy of harmonious colours and materials, vintage and modern furniture, and a view that includes intense sunrises and calming sunsets over the neighbourhood forest and plantations ensures that a stay at Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club is an experience worth returning to. Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club celebrates the forest and design, luxury and modernity, offering the most superlative stay to its guests.

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