|Project Name||Belmond Eagle Island Lodge||Posted in||Hotels, Design, Interior Design||Telephone||+27 21 483 1600|
|[email protected]||Design Studio||The Gallery HBA||Completed||2015|
|Visit Website||mahlatini.com||More Info|
GPS 19°32'01.4"S 23°02'43.8"E
Situated in northern Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a spectacular natural site where an entire river flows into vast plains and then completely evaporates without ever reaching the sea. Lush and wondrous, this habitat is home to rare wildlife and bizarre natural landscapes and, not surprisingly, was voted in 2014 as the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perched on a private island right in the heart of it all is the recently renovated Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, an exclusive retreat that redefines raw luxury.
The safari resort encompasses 12 tented guest rooms boasting exceptional views —each with a large terrace, a plunge pool, a walk-in dressing room, and a black freestanding bath tub. The Gallery HBA, the design studio behind the luxury property’s ten-month renovation, created a retreat that draws inspiration from its spectacular scenery and integrates it into a cosy, warm space, where one can discover, wonder and enjoy at the same time. Guests are welcomed at an arrivals "boma", which is a type of Maasai hut cluster and beautifully sets the tone for the experience that is about to follow. Further inside, the dining pavilion features a home-style open kitchen and collections of brightly-coloured, preserved insects, scientific instruments and light installations that draw inspiration from bird nests; for more relaxing moments, guests can spend time next to the fireplace at the artisanal-style bar, visit the library or the internet lounge, and even sit around the fire at a special camp-fire area.
All structures at the Belmond Eagle Island Lodge are new, their form inspired by the local massive ant nests, as well as the gentle motion of the nearby water channels that shape the entire site. Rebuilt with the highest environmental practices, the public areas are organic in shape that "bend" around the ancient trees on the site and offer various vantage points towards the compelling views outside.
The Delta’s gently flowing water serves as the major influence for the project’s entire design philosophy, while each space has been filled with a plethora of well-designed details seen for example in the rooms’ lighting which was specially designed to cast shadows and create illusions of insects in flight, while splashes of vivid colour across the ‘earthy’ spaces represent local birds and mini bars remind of an explorer’s toolbox. In the same vein, many of the furnishings are artisanal, are made out of canvas, leather and patterned fabrics and have been specially-commissioned and hand-made in Africa. The centrepiece of each lodge however is the king size bed. Offering views out onto the Delta, these fabulous copper finish headboards reference Botswana’s copper mining tradition and have been uniquely designed, washed with natural metallic colours and perforated with tiny holes allowing light to filter through. As Inge Moore, Principal & Creative Director of The Gallery HBA says: “By using local artisans and materials, reinventing traditional safari camp paraphernalia and translating the natural world into the interiors, the design is crafted to fill the hearts and minds of both safari camp connoisseurs and newcomers alike,”
Engaged into a balancing act between nature and human, indoors and outdoors, everything, from the lodge’s original inspiration to the furnishings’ final colour hues is derived from the surroundings and the natural world and reinterpreted into a vivid earthy canvas — a picture completed by the Delta’s wildlife that often pays a visit.