The Whale Bar
Located on the idyllic St Regis Maldives Vommuli Island Resort, The Whale Bar has been the subject of envious glances since opening in 2016. Modelled on the distinctive shape of the majestic whale shark, The Whale Bar was recently recognised as the overall winner of the SBID International Design Awards 2017.
Designed by Singapore-based WOW Architects | Warner Wong Design, work designing The Whale Bar began in 2011 and brings a new dimension to the luxury resort overlooking the Indian Ocean. The Whale Bar combines a simple palette of materials and unique decorative elements that bring its interior to life.
The main materials used on the project included concrete footing, steel structure framing, timber beams and decking. Timber and cedar shingles were used for the building’s exterior which helps create a fish scale like quality. A smooth interior is broken up by a large mural conceptualised by Indian artist Maya Burman and executed by local craftsmen. Spread across five curvaceous oak panels the burnt etchings, done using indigenous pyrography techniques in the henna style typically seen on hands and feet, tell the story of a father and son discovering a paradise of corals, fish and plankton. The installation is a celebration of the Maldives and its colourful sea life. Continuing this marine theme, the main bar area is inspired by the form of a sea turtle.
Plush sofas and armchairs are dotted throughout the space and extend onto the outdoor terrace which boasts some of the best views in the entire resort. The Whale Bar’s food and drink offering, under the direction of Executive Chef Ayyoub Salameh, is a mixture of locally sourced seafood, freshly prepared tapas, wines and spirits.
In order to cause minimum impact during construction and to minimise logistics and labour, a pre-fabricated steel frame and a timber classing system was used as the preferred technology. This had the added advantage of being environmentally friendly because of it being rapidly deployable on site with a minimum footprint impact, and adds to the eco awareness aspect of the resort.
Wong Chiu Man, Founder and Managing Director of WOW Architects | Warner Wong Design said:
“When we were given an opportunity to design a Maldivian resort hotel, we chose to delight the senses through education, creating awareness, and new paradigms of interacting with the physical environment. Here, paradise is emotionally and intellectually experienced and enjoyed, but with a profound awareness of the complex relationships of the eco systems being inhabited. The desire for Low Impact and High Experiential Return is completely defined by the economics of building and operating costs and this defines the physical design solution.”
Voting for the SBID International Design Awards is a combination of a panel of expert judges and a public vote. The Whale Bar’s success is a testament to its universal appeal and creative skill. Wong Chiu Man added:
“I am so pleased we won this award! It’s all about ownership, partnership and design at its peak.”
WOW Architects | Warner Wong Design
Established as Warner Wong Design in the year 2000 by Wong Chiu Man and Maria Warner Wong, WOW has gradually evolved into a dynamic design group. The team’s creative strength lies in the ability to conceive the architecture, interior and landscape design, and master planning with strong conceptual unity and clarity, resulting in works of experiential strength. These come together to shape branding and business directions for our clients, whose ranks include hotel owners and operators, developers and individuals in leading global organizations.
In addition to this recent SBID International Design Awards 2017 success, the company has won numerous awards on projects stretching across the globe in the hospitality, residential and commercial design sectors.
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
Hidden away on the island of Vommuli, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is one of the most luxurious in the Maldives. Reachable only by seaplane, the resort combines contemporary design with local craftsmanship across its 77 villas, spa and eclectic dining mix. From the garden villas housed in the heart of the jungle to the beach villas overlooking glorious beaches, each building draws inspiration from its surroundings.
Combining classical sophistication with a modern sensibility, the St. Regis brand is committed to delivering exceptional experiences at over 40 luxury hotels and resorts in the best addresses around the world. Since the opening of the first St. Regis hotel in New York City over a century ago by John Jacob Astor IV, the brand has remained committed to an uncompromising level of bespoke and anticipatory service for all of its guests, delivered flawlessly by signature St. Regis Butler Service. Born of a distinctive legacy and crafted for modern connoisseurs who desire the finest experiences imaginable, St. Regis defines modern glamour and sophistication as the leading luxury lifestyle hospitality brand with an uncompromising commitment to excellence.