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 from Forbes India, the Indian iteration of the global business magazine, 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 selected 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 awarded for its inventive design in a landscape as pristine as Thekkady. The retreat spreads across a lush network of cardamom plantations on steep terrain in the forest-covered Thekkady. In their reasons why Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club was the right choice for Best Hospitality Architecture Award, 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 ingenuity of the design lies in the elegant design of the cabins, which ensures that the spotlight firmly stays on the outdoors. 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-framed glass enclosures of the village shops and plantation cottages in and around Kumily town, which lies on the edge of Thekkady.