|Rumah Fajar Villa
|Design, Interior Design
Nestled into a lush hillside blessed with spectacular views of Bali’s most sacred volcano Gunung Agung, Villa Rumah Fajar is as much a luxurious and exotic getaway as a monastic retreat immersed as it is in the island’s natural beauty and imbued with its deep-seated spirituality. Designed as a modern interpretation of a traditional Balinese longhouse by Bali-based Studio Jencquel, a boutique practice founded by Venezuela-born designer Maximilian Jencquel, the four-bedroom house is a paradigm of slow design, built with local materials and traditional techniques over the course of two years. Taking its name from its orientation—Rumah Fajar means “The House of Dawn” in Bahasa Indonesian—the tree-house-like residence is seamlessly integrated into its natural setting offering guests the chance to experience traditional Balinese living while enjoying the comforts of a luxury retreat.
Taking the form of an elongated pavilion, the two-storey house is predominantly built from two materials, Bata Tulikup, a Balinese terracotta brick crafted in a nearby village, and charred ironwood produced according to the Japanese technique of Shou-Sugi-Ban, the former used for the ground floor and the latter for the upper storey. Combined with the dark lava stones of the podium, the house’s earthy exterior harmoniously blends in with the lush surroundings as well as echoes the volcanic landscape looming in the horizon.
A carved Balinese door known traditionally as an angkul-angkul, demarcates the propery's entrance, while once inside, guests are greeted by a small shrine that guards local homes from unwanted spirits. An elevated path leading to the house zigzags above lush tropical gardens designed teeming with palms, tree ferns, heliconias, orchids and fruit-bearing trees. The bridge-like pathway serves to give the impression you are approaching a tree-house or castle, a sensation enhanced by the house which sits atop a lava stone podium, a configuration that ensures unobstructed views as well as visually grounds the structure onto the hillside.
Entering the house on the upper level, guests step into an open-plan, loft-like space containing the living room, dining room and kitchen, with wall-to-wall windows offering panoramic vistas of the tropical hills and a covered terrace hovering above the tree canopies. Like the house’s exterior, the interiors harmoniously blend natural materials and earthy hues. Hardwood flooring made from tropical merbau wood, charred ironwood wall panelling, hand-plastered walls, wooden window louvers and rattan ceilings are complemented by hand-crafted timber furnishings, stone elements, and plush linen and cotton fabrics.
A custom-made wooden dining table designed by Studio Jencquel, hand-crafted from merbau wood just like the hardwood flooring, dominates the dining area, while the use of white Italian Carrara marble for the kitchen counters adds a sense of understated luxury. Decorative accents such as hand-carved Balinese doors, ceramic pottery made by local artisans and antique statuettes enhance the sense of craftsmanship, a signature trait of all the studio’s projects, imbuing the interiors with an authentic Balinese sensibility which together with its an innate sense of refinement, simplicity and elegance render the villa a paradigm of contemporary sophistication.
Rounding up the upper floor, the master bedroom enjoys panoramic views as well as the convenience of a walk-in dressing room and en-suite bathrooms with a shower overlooking the valley. Three more bedrooms can be found on the lower floor, all enjoying generous views of the rising sun, along with a decked patio where guests can lounge by the saltwater infinity pool. Lined with smoothed lava stone, the pool encapsulates the project’s “elemental union between earth, fire, water, and sky” as Jencquel says.