‘anaia villa’ by SSA: a micro-resort in thailand’s koh pha ngan island – Designboom
‘anaia villa’: a tropical escape for wellness + entertainment
Located on the secluded and tropical island of Koh Pha Ngan in Thailand is ‘Anaia Villa,’ a luxury micro resort combining entertainment, nature, and wellness-based experiences. The project, completed by Sicart & Smith Architects, spans 1,000 sqm on 4,300 sqm of land. ‘This property aims to be a modern wellness resort made with vernacular materials, using site conditions and existing topography to its advantage as an energy-efficient and sustainable building,’ shares the architecture practice.
The journey around the property is a sight for sore eyes. Reaching it, new-time visitors are met by an ‘opus incertum’ stone cladding with a white porch and a large timber pivot door, inviting them to a world of serenity. The dining and kitchen areas make for a communal space, leading toward the infinity pool set against a lush tropical garden backdrop peppered with palm trees.
images courtesy of Sicart & Smith Architects and Anaia Villa
The main building in ‘Anaia Villa’ comprises two stacked perpendicular blocks, with the cantilevered block supported by a signature ‘V’ column. This volume composition ensures shading and rain protection while sunbathing or swimming. Furthermore, floating slabs arching over both ends of the infinity pool hold a bar on the right and a sunken lounge on the left; these are covered with fabric gazebo atop timber posts, mimicking the sensation of boats on still sea.
‘The modern and rectilinear forms of the resort serve as a brilliant canvas for more fluid forms within the property, such as the black spiral staircase within, the random pathways, the hammam, and the plunge pool with a natural rock waterfall. This deviation encourages guests to be at ease, relax and indulge. It makes this project a physical manifestation of Yin & Yang,’ elaborates the team at Sicart & Smith Architects.
a wellness-entertainment micro resort set amid a tropical context
Local materials, local actors
The planning of spaces in ‘Anaia Villa’ is defined by the topography of unmovable rocks found on site. Specifically, the rock bed around the main building supports the sharp upper volume while incorporating parts of immovable boulders into the interiors, acting as a partition. The yoga shala, plunge pool, and waterfall feature also take advantage of that naturally occurring rock bed, exuding a therapeutic ambiance. On the other hand, smaller stones collected on-site are used for wall cladding, a process carried out by local artisans and builders over a period of six months to form an ever-present artwork.
Complementing the ‘hard material’ is a lush landscape of mango, frangipani, gooseberry and cashew trees, which the property weaves into and around. The existing palm trees, meanwhile, are integrated into the design, creating a unique vista from the main building. ‘This tree cover blends in with the landscape and pathway design to create hidden spaces, an added incentive for exploration to the guests,’ notes the practice.
stone wall cladding led by local artisans
earth-toned interiors deeply connecting to the surroundings
As for the interiors, the architects opted for a minimalist setup featuring earthen finishes, a neutral color palette with black accents, custom-made decorative lighting, and bespoke furniture. These elements impart a serene, decluttered environment as soon as guests walk in. Upon exploring further, a hidden door leads them to a lounge and cinema room. Unlike the more somber interiors, this space reveals a colorful, maximalist design — a sweet escape from daily life, with its bright custom mahjong sofas set against a dark backdrop, and a desaturated nature-inspired wallcovering.
Finally, two additional pavilions below the main building serve as an open gathering space. There sits four guest bedrooms, each fitted with an en-suite bathroom connected to the surrounding nature. Open-sky and open-air bathtubs or outdoor tropical showers complement these rooms, enabling a sensorial healing experience with clutter-free and customized terrazzo washbasins.
Beyond offering a wellness-entertainment experience at ‘Anaia Villa,’ Sicart & Smith Architects focused on embedding a sustainability strategy. First, a hybrid solar system will help attain energy efficiency and reduce the global footprint of the property, which is carefully being analyzed and monitored. Second, the staff will use water from an existing well to cater to guest activities and needs. The resulting grey water goes through treatment tanks before being used for gardening, while harvested rainwater will be treated for domestic use.