Tag Archives: Lodge design

Design Details: Singita Mara River Tented Camp

March 24, 2014 - Accommodation,Experience,Lamai,Lodges and Camps,Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

In the design of Singita Mara River Tented Camp the focus was on creating an immersive experience at the famed river crossing point for the annual migration. The look and feel, conceptualised by Cécile & Boyd, is a profound celebration of contemporary African design and offers a sense of laid back luxury.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

The camp draws inspiration from its East African location, but with a feeling of bohemian glamour that seeks to balance form and function in a non-traditional way. This creates an visual ambience that is elegant but relaxed, with an industrial metal frame work in black hammorite, hung with beige tents and then lined inside in cool white cotton canvas walls and ceilings. Wooden decks and basket walls and roofs tie the camp to the site in a delicate and respectful way, ensuring that it touches the earth lightly.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

As part of their interpretation of the vision for the camp, GAPP Architects & Urban Designers created generous ‘fitto’ screens that provide shade for the outdoor dining and lounge areas, and suspended sapling walls are strategically placed the define the space and offering privacy for our guests. The tents are positioned on the edge of ‘hovering’ decks, so that one is slightly elevated, maximising the views and creating separate living areas on different levels. Fly sheets allow guests to enjoy the space and also to sleep with the main tent flaps open, while protected from inquisitive insects.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Strong contemporary design puts a fresh spin on local creativity, with inspiration coming from traditional, everyday African objects like baskets, beads and pots. There has been a distinct focus on sourcing the talented work of young inspiring African designers. The camp’s signature colour palette of camel, red, grey and charcoal has been incorporated into various decor items and furniture pieces, and live alongside timber sculptures carved from single pieces of wood. Similarly, wooden turned lights, whose shapes are derived from African pots and then extruded to form the various shapes, are expressed in a contemporary form. The lights are manufactured from sustainable jacaranda wood, while others are made of papier-mâché.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Deep, low-slung sofas and beds are layered in hand spun natural fabrics, throws and cushions of differing weights from heavy sack to sheer muslin voiles. ‘Campaign’ inspired retro travel chests in canvas and raw leather with polished metal detailing create desks, trousseaux and side tables. The relaxed atmosphere is further enhanced with bamboo cutlery, wonky crockery and wobbly glass, wood raffia and huge linen napkins bound in plaited rings.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Extensive use of sustainably sourced, hand crafted African basket ware lends a contemporary but tactile element to the design. For example the wire baskets on the screen near the pool are the exact shape and design of grain sorting baskets, but constructed in wire so that they evolve into a purely decorative element. Baskets used for filtering traditional beer have been painted and hung in a group to form an art work.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

The culture and heritage of neighbouring Masai and local Kuria tribes inspired the jewel-like colours of red, black and blue, while their use of pattern and natural materials heavily influenced the design. Throughout the interior there are items of interest to inspire the guests to see this creativity in a new way and invite the staff to share stories of how African culture and design has been interpreted in a new way.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Internal bathrooms with generous open shower areas and vanity units offer incredible views through a folded-back tent flap towards the river. In the outdoor bathroom, the tub is perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the gorgeous river view while offering total privacy. Beds face eastwards so that the rising sun acts as a natural alarm clock in the early morning, and refreshments are taken on the decks to catch the cooling breeze… the experience is designed to allow the guest to fully engage in this indescribable location.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp is the epitome of sustainable tourism and consciously seeks to eliminate the unnecessary use of energy and non-biodegradable materials. In keeping with this philosophy, the camp operates “off-the-grid” and relies entirely on a custom designed solar system for its power and the use of recycled and natural materials wherever possible. Contact our reservations team to find out more about visiting this untouched wilderness.

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Architecture & Inspiration: An interview with Singita architect Sally Tsiliyiannis

January 20, 2014 - Accommodation,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton

Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Singita Castleton is an exclusive-use lodge that has recently been transformed into a charming hideaway catering specifically to groups and families. The property comprises a stone-walled ‘homestead’ and a series of beautifully appointed, air-conditioned double en-suite cottages, offering a unique, private villa experience in the heart of the bush.

Singita Castleton

Set within 45,000 acres of private reserve, Singita Castleton has been designed to combine the best elements of a private safari lodge with the rustic charms of a country farmhouse, with the added benefit of extensive high-end facilities, including a vast garden, swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, tennis court and spa treatment room. Guests can relax together in the courtyard, gather around the traditional ‘boma’ or meet in the country-style kitchen, yet the individual cottages allow guests to retreat to the privacy of their own space as and when it’s needed.

Singita Castleton

Architect Sally Tsiliyiannis, who is a director of the Cape Town office of GAPP Architects & Urban Designers, had the task of overseeing the painstaking restoration of the main homestead, and recently told Men’s Journal USA about the experience:

MJ: When you are working on a safari lodge, how do you make it luxurious without allowing the buildings to overwhelm their setting?
ST: The trick is to let the surroundings be in control – the luxury is already there. Ultimately it’s about making the most ordinary things seem extraordinary and, of course, throwing in all the creature comforts that guests expect.

Singita Castleton

MJ: What styles and touches do you view as uniquely African and thus worth preserving at Singita Castleton?
ST: The existing camp was steeped in history and much loved by many. Although the  existing buildings were actually quite ordinary (simple thatched cottages with small windows, screeded floors and earth coloured plastered walls), we realised the importance of retaining the essence of the place in the redesign. The key to the transformation was the opening up of spaces within and between the buildings and the introduction of new layers of texture and material to blend the buildings more subtly into the landscape. Letting in more natural light helped align the spaces closer with nature.

Singita Castleton

MJ: Which animals are the hardest to keep off the property?
ST: Elephants are the most destructive and have to be kept out of the camp – otherwise pretty much anything can wander in. Monkeys are very mischievous but their antics are irresistible.

Singita Castleton

MJ: What draws you to working in the bush?  
ST: Mostly being outside with the smell of the air and the African sun. Flying low over the bush, site meetings under the trees while elephants take mud baths nearby, the genuine, unpretentious people and the glory of the night sky.

Singita Castleton

MJ: What are the limitations of working in the bush?
ST: The bush is the most extraordinary source of inspiration so there is never a sense of there being ‘limitations’. Things just happen at a slower pace because of logistical challenges so time is inevitably in short supply.

MJ: Are there any great examples of African architecture you draw on for inspiration?
ST: The greatest architecture in Africa is the trees – I constantly use them as a source of inspiration.

You can read all about Singita Castleton’s reopening earlier this year, and see more photos of this gorgeous exclusive-use retreat on our website.

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