~Romantic resort designs, pool & water features, sustainability, local culture elements~
Master architect Jean-Michel Gathy is the visionary behind some of the world’s most iconic luxury hotels, resorts and landmarks, from the Marina Bay Sands swimming pool in Singapore, Cheval Blanc Randheli by LVMH in the Maldives, The Chedi Muscat in Oman, The Setai Miami to many of the most recognised Aman Resorts around the world.
Specialising in luxury hospitality design, interiors and landscape for over 40 years, Jean-Michel Gathy is always one step ahead of the design curve, forging new design trends and inspiring the world with his passion in creating innovative designs which surpass expectations and the imagination.
Jean-Michel Gathy’s “must have” architecture predictions for 2016 and beyond are centred on the themes of romantic resorts, an abundance of pools and water features, sustainability, and always incorporating local cultural elements and traditions.
His signature designs have inspired many leading architectural works which are showcased in a list of some of the most recognised hotels and resorts including the One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives, St. Regis Lhasa, Tibet, Viceroy Snowmass, Aspen Colorado, Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay, Sanya, The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland, Aman Canal Grande, Venice, Amanwana, Moyo Island Indonesia and Aman Summer Palace in Beijing.
Romantic Resort Designs
Jean-Michel Gathy pioneered the design of romantic wraparound outdoor decks with netted hammocks suspended over water at the One&Only Reethi Rah and oversized bathrooms at The Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives, featuring free standing bathtubs and outdoor showers, also referred to as “Naughty Bathrooms”. He is an expert for inventing romantic designs for couples to be intimate yet comfortable. Gathy shared, “I believe that the perfect hotel in the Maldives is a hotel where you are extremely comfortable with your spouse or partner. A Maldivian hotel needs to encourage an environment of love and life, a place for emotion and togetherness.”
Pools & Water Features
Inspired by water, Jean-Michel Gathy redefines hotel swimming pools creating water features as incredible centerpieces. From the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands overlooking Singapore’s skyscrapers to the Golden Energy pool at The St. Regis Lhasa in Tibet intricately lined with thousands of tiles plated in 24 carat gold comfortably heated between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius.
Jean-Michel Gathy further shared, “I’m obsessed with water. The reason I like water in hotel designs is that it’s so peaceful and relaxing. Think about how you feel when you’re by a lake or a river – you feel calmer” explained Gathy. “Well that’s why I try to incorporate water into all my designs. It soothes the mind. For me, a hotel without water is boring.”
Incorporating the natural environment and indigenous Aspen culture, Jean-Michel Gathy integrates fire, earth, wood and stone elements to the design of the Viceroy Snowmass. All materials used are LEED classified ensuring that local materials were maximized in the construction phase to minimise ongoing energy usage to support sustainability.
The design inspiration behind The Chedi Andermatt by GHM is balanced between Swiss heritage and a backdrop of awe-inspiring nature. The resort is sustainably designed and executed, using locally sourced materials. “Sustainability is one of the major considerations. Each country has different regulations and codes on environmental impact and it is my job to make sure that the project meets the sustainable requirements.” Gathy shared.
Local Culture Elements
Having a passion for travel and geography as a child, Jean-Michel Gathy harmonises the local and cultural elements of the destination to his designs. At the recently opened Park Hyatt Sunny Bay, Jean-Michel Gathy designed the Resort to balance the energies of feng shui between the sea, “yin”, and the surrounding mountains, “yang”.
Reflecting the Summer Palace’s imperial style, the Aman Summer Palace pays tribute to the Ming Dynasty, traditional touches are evident in both design and décor including period-style furniture, lanterns, traditional fabrics and bamboo blinds.
Whereas the artfully restored Aman Canal Grande is set in the regal world of the 16th century Palazzo Papadopoli, the textures of the original historical features – ornate cornicing, carved marble, intricate murals and wood panelling blend alongside the modern conveniences, cutting-edge design and contemporary décor.
“I’m always inspired by the location of my projects; I like to honour both the landscape and local tradition. As palaces and hotels, Venice and China couldn’t be more different, yet I set out to achieve a similar aesthetic – to inject a contemporary haven within a culturally rich environment, one that offers guests an authentic yet dramatic experience,” comments Jean-Michel Gathy.
Although many designs pioneered by Jean-Michel Gathy are being adopted and mimicked by other hotels, Gathy shared that he is not concerned, he comments that “Making a beautiful hotel is about orchestrating a dance between the landscape, the architecture and the interiors. There’s this wonderful chemistry when it finally works.”
Jean-Michel Gathy and his team at Denniston Architects are currently working on over forty projects around the world, including the upcoming Mandarin Oriental and Jumeirah in Bali and The Andaz Sanya.
Jean-Michel Gathy, Principal Designer – Denniston International Architects & Planners
Born in Belgium in October 1955, Jean-Michel Gathy discovered his passion for geography and architecture as a child when he travelled extensively with his family. After completing his degree in 1978, Jean-Michel Gathy left Belgium relocating to Asia in 1981 and founded Denniston in 1983, a niche architectural and design company, arguably recognised as one of the world’s leading hospitality design firms. Denniston has been behind some of the most renowned luxury hotels, interiors and landscapes built over the last three decades, and holds an exceptional portfolio of clients featuring the industry’s top hoteliers.