On a white sand beach overlooking the South Pacific, nestled into a coconut grove, a squadron of Rays seems to have lost its way. Scattered along the Mexican coastline, 6 bamboo treehouses inspired by the flattened, prismatic bodies of the Mobula Rays that migrate past the site, are perched on coconut palms overlooking the surf.
These new treehouses are the fruit of an extraordinary collaboration: in April 2021, David Leventhal, pioneer of the Regenerative Travel movement, reached out to Nomadic Resorts, an award-winning eco-resort design studio to discuss the development of 6 extra rooms for his iconic eco-lodge Playa Viva. Despite the challenges associated with international travel, and an ambitious 6-month construction program; an eclectic, on-line design process across multiple time zones ensued. The direct collaboration between the owner, architect, and builder, united by a shared commitment to regenerative development and a passion for natural building, offered a unique opportunity to create naturally ventilated buildings made from local bamboo and timber.
‘The design of the bamboo treehouses offered us a unique opportunity to develop a cutting-edge bamboo structure in an incredible location without compromising our environmental ethos. It was an enriching experience to work with a client like David, as he is completely in tune with our design philosophy’ said Olav Bruin, Atelier Nomadic’ s creative director.
Coconut palms were transplanted into pre-determined locations to support the front of the structures by the permaculture manager and the hyperbolic paraboloid roofs were winched into position and fixed to the trunks before the prefabricated panels were erected in record time by the enigmatic bamboo Maestro, Jorg Stamm with his team of local craftsmen. The final product is a far cry from the ‘box on the beach’ development model, espoused by many traditional hospitality groups. Instead of catering to the perceived needs of the luxury travel market, the holistic design was intended to align with the post COVID travelers’ desire to stay in exciting, healthy accommodation, immersed in the natural environment:
‘Sleeping in the Mobula Ray treehouse is a liberating personal experience’ said Nomadic Resorts, CEO Louis Thompson ‘after months of isolation and lock downs, here, guests can connect with their environment once more – listen to the sound of the waves, feel the breeze sway through the palm leaves and taste the salt air, unmasked, as they lounge on the hammock suspended over the beach, staring at the stars. This is beyond wellness, its catharsis ‘