Pop-up paradise

by PHOEBE LIU on Feb 16, 2012 in Architecture , Interiors , Lifestyle
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The new – and temporary – ‘raw-luxe’ Papaya Playa project takes the 21st century pop-up phenomenon to its next logical step: hospitality.

Our decade has been described as the Turbulent Teens. In reaction to uncertain economic dynamics, unparalleled original solutions in the space of art and design have cropped up, one of the most popular being the pop-up retail and art phenomenon.

An instant success, the idea plays with exactly what we are looking for right now: functionality, value, story and innovation. While this concept has been around for a while, Design Hotels founder and CEO Claus Sendlinger sees its shift to hospitality as a natural and inevitable progression – hence the Papaya Playa project, which recently popped up in Tulum, Mexico.

Launched in early December last year and open only until 5 May, Papaya Playa is located on a 900m stretch of oceanfront paradise on the Caribbean coast of the Mayan Riviera. “Our idea was to create a transitory yet deeply culturally-rooted experience and we couldn’t have dreamed up a better place to make this happen. Capitalising on the natural environment and multicultural character of Tulum, we put together an international team of real visionaries, each enriching the experience with their own food, music, design or wellness concept,” says Sendlinger. “The enthusiasm and creative energy of everyone involved enabled us to renovate the camp and put together a holistic programme within a very short period of time.”

Located in the heart of Mayan mysticism, Tulum is a place where small boutique hotels are the norm and where constructions are commonly simple cabanas on the beach. In the recent past, Tulum has become a destination in its own right, separating itself from the bigger tourist attractions in the area, Cancun and Playa del Carmen. At Papaya Playa, 99 cabanas have been renovated by the Design Hotels creative team. Integrating local materials and building techniques, the rustic spaces minimise separation between man and nature.

 Read the full story in the March 2012 issue of Perspective magazine!