Tropical splendour

This resort-like villa and pavilion home is all about wellness, connecting with its environment and respecting it, too, in terms of sustainability

Designed by SSA Architects (Sicart & Smith Architects)

From the architects:

There are times when people want to hit pause on their fast-paced lives, to detach and relax, to recuperate from the effects of a bustling city, and spend quality time with their friends and family. 

And private retreats such as this villa provide such an opportunity.

Located on the secluded and tropical island of Koh Pha Ngan (Thailand) the villa combines entertainment, nature and wellness-based experiences. 

Effectively a micro resort, the villa covers 1,000m² on 4,300m² of land. 

This property aims to be a modern wellness resort made with vernacular materials, using site conditions and existing topography to its advantage as an energy efficient, sustainable building.

Journey of exploration

The journey around the property unravels this villa and reveals it it in its full glory. 

The opus incertum stone cladding, punctured with a white porch, has a large timber pivot front door. 

The dining and kitchen areas makes for a communal space, which leads toward the infinity pool against the backdrop of the lush tropical garden with palm trees.

The main building is comprised of two stacked perpendicular blocks, with the cantilevered block supported by a signature 'V' column. 

This volume composition ensures the shading of the pool from the sun and its protection from the rain. 

Similarly, all the private and communal spaces light up naturally and adequately while shaded. 

The floating slabs arching over both ends of the infinity pool hold a pool bar on the right and a sunken pool lounge on the left. 

These spaces are covered with a fabric gazebo atop timber posts – the design of the gazebo mimics the vista and the sensation of boats on a still sea.

The home's character and growth unravel as you walk through the spaces. 

The modern and rectilinear forms serve as a brilliant canvas for more fluid forms within the property, such as the internal black spiral staircase, the random pathways, the hammam (Turkish bath) and the plunge pool with a natural rock waterfall. 

Natural materials as inspiration

All the stones extracted from the site form the primary vocabulary in the development of this structure. 

The topography of unmovable rocks defines the planning of the spaces. 

The bed of rocks around the main building supports the sharp upper volume while incorporating parts of immovable boulders into the interiors, acting as a partition. 

The yoga shala is away from the main building and takes advantage of naturally occurring rock-bed for its footing.

The plunge pool too uses the natural bedrock as a waterfall, giving it a therapeutic touch. 

Smaller stones are transformed to the signature wall cladding with the expertise of local artisans and builders, forming an ever-present artwork that was six months in the making.

The vegetation conservation as well as sensitive design played a vital role in shaping this property. 

The property weaves in and around rich local vegetation of mango, frangipani, gooseberry and cashew trees and various fauna. 

The palm trees on the site are integrated into the design, making for a dramatic view from the main building. 

The site's tree cover blends in with the landscape and pathway design to create hidden spaces, an added incentive for exploration by the guests.


Where wellness is the X-factor for the villa, only a minimalist design fits the bill. 

In this case, interiors are minimalist with earthen finishes, a neutral colour palette with black accents, custom-made decorative lighting, and bespoke furniture. 

These elements impart a serene, de-cluttered environment for the guest to experience as soon as they walk in.

Upon exploring further, a hidden door leads guests to a lounge and cinema room – unlike its somber interiors, this space has a colourful, maximalist design. 

With bright custom mahjong sofas against the dark backdrop acoustic cladding and ceiling and desaturated nature-inspired wallcovering, this space provides an opportunity for escapism.

Two additional pavilions below the main building serve as an open gathering space. 

These consist of four guest bedrooms, each ensuite bathroom fostering connections with nature, with open sky bathtubs or outdoor tropical showers. 

Bathing spaces make for a sensorial healing experience, with clutter-free customised washbasins made of terrazzo and open-air bathtubs.


The goal of the villa and pavilions lies beyond their purpose as a wellness-entertainment destination. 

For Stage 1, a hybrid solar system will help attain energy efficiency with this, the global footprint of the property is also being analysed and monitored.

For Stage 2, water supply from the existing water well supplements are utilised in the functioning of the home. 

All the grey water goes through treatment tanks and is used for gardening – the harvested rainwater is treated before domestic use.

In addition, the structure is designed to take advantage of the site's environmental and climatic context to reap its best value for sustainable results.

Villa walk-through

Credit list

Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) International Home of the Year – Finalist

Designed by: SSA Architects (Sicart & Smith Architects)

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Diane Durongpistikul, Jacques Herremans, Remi Pinaud

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