Sirru Fen Fushi Fairmont Maldives is a one kilometre long and 250 metre wide island situated in the Shaviyani Atoll of the Maldives. This 16 hectare island with 120 keys enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations.
The main design challenge was to realise the client’s vision for a landscape that would differentiate the resort from the other resorts in the Maldives. This necessitated an entirely different approach from the way a landscape would ordinarily be planned and designed.
When the design process commenced in 2016, case studies of other resorts in the Mal- dives were conducted. Simultaneously, the landscape architect studied the works of earth artists and naturalist such as Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty”, Cristo and Jeanne Claude’s “Surrounded Island” and “Floating Piers”, Cristo’s “Umbrellas”, Andy Goldsworthy’s “Gold Rock”, Donald Judd’s “Concrete Windows”, Nancy Holt’s “Sun Tunnel” and many more.
These artists were often able to visualise and see the potential of an ordinary places in an unorthodox way, transforming them into extraordinary and meaningful experiences through the introduction of bold, straightforward art elements or the reconfiguration and reuse of indigenous elements that are often forgotten or disregarded. The result challenges the rethinking of a place; focusing attention to appreciate the realisation, through landscape design, of its hidden potential.
Inspired by these artistic philosophies, the landscape architects sought to reveal the latent potential of the island so as to design a unique resort. The central design element was proposed as a 200 metres long and 10metres wide Water Axis that spanned across the heart of the island, from East to West. This striking feature would be the centre of the activities for the resort. This design proposal challenged the orthodox approach to resort planning in the Maldives that dictated the villas, amenities and facilities to be located along the sea frontage with views of the horizon, and the beaches.
Instead, through the introduction of the long, linear water axis, the central core of the resort became the centre of attention. The facilities, amenities and activities surrounding the water axis created a sense of purpose. The water axis emphasises and accentuates the scenic views. Its geographical significance generates a more purposeful and attentive place. It provides the resort with an unmistakable identity and unique character that are both distinctly different and dramatic. The juxtaposition of the preserved random coco- nut palms within the linear pool informs and reveals the natural beauty of the island as it extends to the horizons.
Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
Overall Master Planner/Landscape Architect: STX Landscape Architects (previously Sitetectonix Pte Ltd)
Client: GBH Maldives Resorts Pvt Ltd
Architect: SCSY Studio Singapore
Interior Design: Hirsch Bedner Associates
Lighting Design: Bo Steiber Lighting Design, Singapore
Photography Credit: Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi