Classic Kerala touch

Project Name: Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters & Beyond
Location: Kumarokam, Kerala, India
Typology: Hospitality/ Wellness
Design Firm: Edifice Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
Principal Architect: Baskaran Kolathu
Design Team: Radhika Dey, Baskaran Kolathu, Binu Kuriokose, Akshata Bane, Harsh Sharma
Site Area (sqft&sq m): 7 acres
Built-Up Area (sqft&sq m): 85000 sq.ft.
Client: Jupiter Capital

The design approach for Niraamaya Retreat by Edifice Consultants set against the backwaters of Kumarokam, Kerala, is based on integrating the biosystem, tying together the built spaces. The 27-key luxury resort consists of independent cottages, a spa and wellness centre, treatment rooms, bar, yoga pavilions, pool and gym, meeting rooms and an amphitheatre.

A voluminous reception space is approached from a grand flight of stairs and enveloped by a sloped roof. Connected to the reception is a speciality restaurant that functions as a lounge, library and bar. Beyond the lounge is the communal swimming pool, which creates a buffer between the public zones of the resort and the private villas.

The Spa and Wellness Center has been designed to function as an independent and self-contained facility, with treatment spaces clustered around an intimate court. The wellness centre is anchored axially by two volumes, the reception to the front and the Yoga hall towards the farther end. The treatment rooms have been designed as self-contained units that look out into corresponding private landscaped courts.

Strongly redolent of the classical Kerala architecture, the design expresses traditional elements such as sloping roofs, Mogappus, Charupadi, etc. through locally-sourced materials such clay tiles for roofing, granite pavilions and dados, laterite, and local timber.

A variety of accommodation types make up the resort; the villas have been arranged in a spine along the lakeshore, with two out of three keys directly overlooking the waterbody. Each of the villas is designed to maintain the required degree of privacy through the play of fenestrations and landscaped visual barriers. With large covered verandahs and personal pools in the forecourt. This model of personal amenity hubs integrating themselves with the larger complex has been replicated across the resort through various configurations, including two-storied premium villas – where the upper keys look towards the lake, and the ground floor suites open into personal gardens – and family suites, which feature multiple terraces and covered verandahs tying together a set of private rooms.

The unique site geography presented the challenge of an unusually high water table, high rainfall, and water stagnation caused by the contours of the site. Addressing these challenges was crucial to the conservation of property and life alike. To mitigate these hazardous conditions, the design scheme enables a network of natural water bodies that allow smooth surface run-off even in circumstances of heavy monsoon rains.

The design infuses luxury in the interior spaces primarily through the choice of materials. Referring to the design style of the erstwhile Colonial period a natural colour palette has been adopted in the range of beiges and greens to bring the spatial experience to life. The handpicked assemblage of slender and graceful furniture pieces minimizes visual noise to create serene, meditative spaces.

Baskaran Kolathu
Vertical Head, Hospitality Architecture

Edifice Consultants Pvt. Ltd. is one of India’s premier design consultancies founded in 1989, by Ravi Sarangan and Sanjay Srinivasan. It was emerged out of a desire to practice architecture by questioning norms and encouraging collaboration and contribution. Today, thirty years and more than 1,200 projects later, Edifice Consultants is one of the largest and most impactful design practices in the country. While the firm handles projects of diverse sizes–from interior design to architecture and urban design across diverse typologies–it has striven to keep its idealism untarnished through each of these projects. Delivering high quality and high-performance design solutions through a team of over 180 motivated professionals and operations based out of eight regional branches around India, the global portfolio of Edifice spans more than 10 countries.