15 Feb Shipwreck Lodge: Explore the Untouched
Explore one of the most majestic places on earth with Women Unleashed Design as they create one-of-a-kind hospitality interiors. Working in such a tough climate can be a challenge, but for WU Design this obstacle has resulted in some really amazing and unusual designs. One of their projects in particular, Shipwreck Lodge, is all about creating an authentic experience for guests inspired by its location on Skeleton Coast of Namibia. As we discussed in our Winter 2019 Experience Issue, we are seeing experiential design and hospitality merge more and more resulting in a totally redefined industry. To delve deeper into this concept, we talked with Bespoke Interior Artist and owner of Women Unleashed Design, Melanie Merwe to see how Shipwreck Lodge is making a memorable stay for guests.
Skeleton Coast is known for its treacherous weather, rough surf and shifting shores. How did this impact the design approach?
“To ensure that guests are comfortable no matter what the weather, everything manufactured for the lodges needed to be able to withstand the weather, from wind, to cold, to fog, to heat. We provided the lodges with optimum finishes for the environment including reclaimed material of both wood and metal. The walkways are made out of strips of recycled tires, offering just enough support for guests to walk. A slight cover of sand actually enhances the whole effect.”
Describe the use of color, material and pattern. What inspired these choices?
“We took inspiration from the nature around Skeleton Coast to engage the senses of feel, see, and smell. The color palette is directly derived from the area – blues, red plums, copper, and purples reflecting all different moods. For instance, there is Lichen fields which becomes a beautiful red plum with just the right amount of fog while various tones of blue turn into greens. A rug in the lounge was inspired by water on the beach and the blinds in the bedroom actually look like pulled up sails from a boat. Most of the furniture is made of reclaimed materials to reinforce the idea of a shipwreck, while cotton and silk bedding are meant to comfort guests.”
How did you take the overall guest experience at Shipwreck Lodge into account when designing? What design element was it crucial to include?
“We want to take guests back in time, encouraging them to become part of the amazing history and experience of being isolated in one of the most pristine and beautiful areas in the world. To play into this feeling of isolation, we’ve given guests the choice of privacy with various small, intimate spaces in the main area. Artwork on the sliding doors represent the history and image of a shipwreck, evoking an emotional response from guests. At Shipwreck Lodge, you do not feel like you are in a lodge, but rather stranded in a tilted shipwreck.”
The chalets feature an unusual yet unique architecture. How did this impact your design decisions?
“Every element of the interior needed to absolutely complement the architecture. We had to design beds that fit into the slant of the walls and create a rodded system to support the natural fall of the blinds with gravity. Bathroom windows are slanted portholes to allow light into the bathroom, so we had to come up with a design to compromise privacy. As a solution we created round “plug” windows which have the world map engraved on them and can be removed from the porthole to be hung as art if not in use.”