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Hong Kong firm ALT-254 tackles the challenges in designing villas in Indonesia

by Hannah Grogan on Dec 11, 2019 in Architecture , Interiors , Top Story , Travel
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Steep slopes, difficult access and a remote location were among the challenges for Hong Kong-based practice ALT-254 to create the villa residences on Indonesia's Lombok Island

Selong Selo Resort & Residences in the south of Indonesia's Lombok Island sits on hills overlooking Selong Belanak Beach and its turquoise waters.

Hong Kong-based design and project management firm ALT-254 has completed eight villas with 24 more planned. Villa Samsara, at 200 metres above sea level, is the highest point of the development, and Saul Smeding, ALT-254 partner and head of design, says it took some 12 months to complete. The 495sqm (5,300sqf) house takes advantage of the location and 3.5-metre-high glass doors enable the entire ground floor to be completely open, while a sunken living room puts guests at the same height as the infinity pool.

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Construction was not without its challenges: transporting materials was difficult while steep and narrow roads were impassable in the rainy season. "The most challenging is to work with this very steep topography and at the same time, make sure you have the best views and connection with the context [of the surroundings]," says Smeding. "You need to be relatively limited in building techniques and specific materials because not everything is available in such a remote area.

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We try to work with as many local materials as possible." Villa Samsara has Indonesian marble floors and grey aluminium composite panels on the walls; the exterior has louvres of Sumatra-grown bangkirai wood that contrast with a raw concrete finish, while the pool is tiled with green volcanic andesite.

For most of the villas designed by ALT-254, the swimming pool is a key feature. Villa Samsara's spans the length of the communal spaces, allowing ocean views from the living and dining rooms, open kitchen and games room.

"Every house is a different client and a unique personal design," says Smeding, who appreciated the opportunity for the company to build so many unique houses. "As an architect, we get quite a bit of freedom from our clients and building in such a beautiful and remote location, definitely as a whole was a really big highlight for the company," he adds.

DSC_7009_by1kmStudioKevinMak_editPhotos. Kevin Mak


THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED AS "RISE TO THE CHALLENGE”, AN ARTICLE FROM THE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER ISSUE OF PERSPECTIVE MAGAZINE.

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