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2016 Gold Key Awards: Best Eco- or Socially Conscious Hotel

(December 2016) posted on Wed Jan 04, 2017

Skillfully blending high design and low impact earns honors for three projects.


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WINNER: Treehouse Suite at Playa Viva
Juluchuca, Guerrero, Mexico

Treehouse Perch
Treehouse Suite at Playa Viva. Photo: Leonardo Palafox



DESIGNER: Deture Culsign, Architecture+Interiors, Chicago

INSPIRATION: Expand the accommodation offer of this 12-key sustainable resort with a new-build treehouse villa that blurs the indoor/outdoor experience and gives high-end guests an eco-sensitive personal playground. Working with 700 sq. ft., and a palette of natural materials, craft a luxury retreat that proves five-star design can be as easy on the eyes as it is on the Earth. Minimize any negative impact from the human footprint by using sustainable FF&E and construction techniques. And, make that happen in six months from the initial concept to the opening day.

IDEATION: Remember why guests come to a black-hole resort. Playa Viva draws travelers who are eager to unplug; the only “connection” they want is with the rugged, beachfront surroundings. Design helps ease the transition from stressed out to blissed out. “As you enter the path for the treehouse, you arrive at your personal sand box equipped with locally made and sourced wood lounge chairs and a table with Mexican artisan tableware pottery. The message is that it’s OK to play,” says Kimshasa Baldwin, principal, Deture Culsign, Architecture+Interiors. That free-spirited feeling continues in the villa, which maximizes the interior space with an open air lower-level lounge and an upper-level perch positioned to provide unobstructed ocean views and breeze. Palm trees pierce the exposed wood beam villa roof which provide a textural ceiling for the lounge and bathroom. The bathroom roof is intentionally carved back to allow the shower experience to extend into the outdoors—giving guests a view of palm trees by day and a blanket of stars by night.

Treehouse Perch
Treehouse Suite at Playa Viva. Photo: Leonardo Palafox


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