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New Seasons For An Old Friend

Premier Villas at the iconic Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay get a facelift that enhances their sense of place. we spoke to executive VP Larry van Ooyen from architects Jaya International.

Larry, what brief was Jaya given for this project?

We were asked to re-visit the concept of the interiors of all villas. The resort wanted to revive the interiors, the layouts and the design, to bring it to a new level of timeliness for Four Seasons guests. Our priority was to enhance the use of space and functionality of the villa interiors, while maintaining the strong sense of destination and authenticity. The resort also wanted to create new villa categories to cater for different types of guests.

How did Jaya approach this project and put its stamp on the villa, considering the original design by GKA was considered groundbreaking when the resort first opened?

Like Jaya always approaches every project, from a guest experience angle. First of all we made a simple but very effective improvement of the overall spaciousness of the interiors, the bedrooms, the living rooms, and bathrooms, without losing their sense of place and original Balinese village concept. Secondly, new Balinese carvings and fabrics have been introduced in a contemporary way, giving the interior a stronger sense of place. Meanwhile, existing art and decoration like the antique Balinese doors have been toned down in colour; we wanted the interior to be expressed in a subdued colour palette as it is the guest that adds the colour to the space. Marble floors have been lifted (which were not Balinese) and replaced by either stone or timber flooring.

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In what ways is the renovated villa more functional than before?

This enhanced functionality was achieved by expanding the sleeping pavilion, and combining the indoor living and sleeping areas. Double sliding doors open the room up to the natural environment and ocean breeze, further extending their living space so the guest has a choice of sitting outdoors in the fresh air or indoors in an air-conditioned environment. The location of the beds was moved to open up the room and accommodate the new living area, while we added a new childrenโ€™s room in the Family Premier Villas. Also the circulation is such now that guests can move between the villa and the poolside bale under cover.

What are the main changes from the previous villas?

Apart from the structural changes mentioned, the entire interiors โ€“ in a nutshell. We created specially designed furniture pieces for each villa type, and used new materials and finishes throughout, including flooring, wall paneling, wall carvings, bathrooms, and roofing.

What elements were maintained?

Most prominently the pitched alang-alang roof in order to preserve the sense of place, being in Bali of course. The alang-alang was replaced, but to create more insulation we used a local woven grass matting called lampit as an extra layer on the inside of the alang-alang. The layout of the bathroom was maintained as well, with the iconic outside garden shower, but the wall surrounding the vanities was removed to open up the space. All materials, fittings and finishes were replaced except the freestanding Swedish-designed vintage bath which is not made anymore, and which the resort wanted to keep as a guest favourite.

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Where did you source materials and artworks?

Materials were sourced locally wherever possible, for instance the lampit and ikat fabric, as well as man-made materials like the polystone tiles that were used to replace the bathroom flooring. Artwork-wise our famous master-carver Made Jojol from Ubud must be mentioned here (his first claim to fame was the magnificent carving he did at the lobby of The Legian in 1995). Made carved two panels for each bedroom placed above each bedside table in all villas โ€“ they are extremely impactful in adding an elegant touch of Bali to the new sleeping environment.

What if any challenges did Jaya face with this project, and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge was that it wasnโ€™t a new space that we could design from scratch, we had to work within the existing structure and space available. Solution: By adjusting the layout of the interior, it now feels as if the exterior has become part of the guest experience space, while the bathroom was opened up by removing the sidewalls next to the vanities.

Thanks for your time. Canโ€™t wait to stay!