Recent times have seen an abundance of luxury resorts popping up along Vietnam’s coast, but perhaps nothing quite as spectacular or beautiful as the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsular Resort. In the lush surroundings at Son Tra Peninsular, Bensley Design Studios have reinterpreted traditional Vietnamese design into a four level ‘seaside village’; ushering in what appears to be a new era of Asian hotel design.
Harvard-educated, Bangkok-based architect Bill Bensley has spent over two decades immersed in the changing landscape of Asian architectural design. He tells us why this project is his one of his most groundbreaking
“In the past 25 years Bensley Design Studios has designed some 160 resorts in 27 countries worldwide, and I think that this is our best work to date. Why? Because it is honest!
This seaside village like resort is an honest reflection of the best of Vietnamese traditional or vernacular design, made in Vietnam, with materials from Vietnam, and by Vietnamese craftsmen. We looked to the temples of Vietnam, as this is always the richest place to look, for inspiration. We never copied any traditional form verbatim, but rather reinterpreted the Vietnamese vernacular into a fresh new honest genre.
We found a lot and this influenced our architecture, interiors, furniture design, gardens, table tops, menus, signage, and the uniforms. We even designed the playlists that is played in every outlet. Never before have I been so obsessed with designing every last element that the guest sees. This is a new beginning for us, as we are doing like this now for all of our new projects.
Hopefully this resort will instill confidence in local designers that their Vietnamese culture is rich, alive, and can be extended successfully into the future as a fresh new face. For the interiors, I think we have created a new asian look that breaks new ground.
We have designed many large resorts for Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental etc. that often, because of their shear size, demand that guests and their baggage have to be transported by buggy. This takes coordination from hotel staff, man hours, buggy repairs etc. It gets even more complicated on steep sites as few guests want to walk up and down hills and it is often a source of guest complaints if buggies don’t arrive for them on time. Here at the very steep and large site of the Intercontinental Danang, I designed the NamTram, a funicular that connects the top of the resort to the beach and stops twice along the way. I laid out the village on four levels; Sea, Earth, Sky and Heaven, so guests never have to walk up or down, and most rooms are an easy walk to the NamTram. This is proving most energy efficient and guest friendly.” Bill Bensley
Photography by Krishna Adithya
The Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsular Resort has reached the shortlist for the Asia-Pacific Design & Architecture Awards 2013 – Hotel (over 200 rooms) category. For more information about the awards or to submit your design, please contact us at www.design-et-al.co.uk
Bensley Design Studios www.bensley.com
Intercontinental Danang Sun Resort Son Tra Peninsula, Danang, Vietnam danang.intercontinental.com
The Asia-Pacific Design & Architecture Awards 2013 www.design-et-al.co.uk