‘Manicured to Productive’
Landscape Strategy for Indian Hospitality
Author – Sriram Ramakrishnan
Landscape at times is forgotten as a purely aesthetic element, which involves further costs to maintain. In such situations, the landscape is just appreciated visually from a distance without physical contact, at most utilizing its shade. But at FHD Group, Landscape is at the heart of architectural design, due to our strong belief in sustainability. Each hospitality project by FHD Group utilizes Landscape for a unique purpose that contributes to the productivity of the project. A quick look at the landscape across FHD Group ’s projects would reveal the hidden potential of landscape design.
Two key factors that identify the Indian hospitality segment from international hospitality are its close tie to outdoor space at an intimate scale, and its price-sensitive market. The regional landscape that are more vibrant and easy to maintain gives the vernacular touch at affordable minimal maintenance, instead of high maintenance exotic landscape. An effective landscape provides benefits, either as a farm producer or power saver, or crowd puller that pays up for the price of landscape, making it an efficient investment that reaps dividends, rather than a dead expense.
Landscape as Outdoor Experience
Mayfair – one of the market leaders in the Indian luxury Hospitality segment believes in Outdoor spaces as a key differentiator in its market strategy, and response to Indian client needs. FHD Group’s sustainability ethos fits with Mayfair to produce Hospitality projects with exquisite Outdoor design space. Guests at Mayfair, Raipur spend considerable time outdoors, enjoying the serenity of the landscape, exercising and even enjoying snacks. As an operator owned hotel brand, the outdoor spaces significantly reduce the consumption of electricity (air-conditioner use) thereby making it more affordable to run and more environment-friendly.
Landscape as Agriculture & Lifestyle
As one of FHD Group’s (Best architectures) in-house venture, Organo-Naandi near Hyderabad fully translates the firm’s mindset with heart and soul. Unlike any other project, Organo is built around users who believe in a lifestyle tied to nature and agriculture. Organo has a fully developed Agriculture land, with residents and guests actively participating in organic agriculture, without pesticides. The farm to table concept provides the residents with healthy vegetables, with the surplus. Some-times sold out. With several sustainable features and social development, Organo is internationally recognized with awards and is a case study in itself. A new Organo project near Bangalore is under design.
Landscape as Farms
Polycab ’s hospitality project in Halol, Gujarat is a Corporate resort unlike any other. At the heart of the design is a full-fledged Farmland occupying one-third of the site. The farmland maintained by local laborers provides economic opportunities for local villagers and provides fresh food for visitors. I blend into the Corporate Social Responsibility dimension of the company and represents the strong connection with Sustainability. The Hospitality project also includes villas for the top management, in adjacency to the farm, creating an identity of farm-house.
Landscape as Context
AR Resorts, Chennai operated by Sheraton – a leading global operator, is a beach facing resort in the luxury segment. The beach sets up the context for the project and is a strong crowd puller in itself. Landscape in this project sets up the entire story and context of the beach. Coconut trees, pools, wide steps intermittent by green landscape sets up the mood. Flowing water is a continuing theme across the project. The landscape flows into the built space connecting the outdoor and indoor into a seamless experience. Every unit faces the landscape becoming a part of the overall experience.
Landscape as Ambience
AR Resort Cafe – Concept
Cafetaria in AR Resort is a project in itself with a unique character. The bamboo pavilion is landscape evolving to architecture to create a canopy. The parametric form signifies architecture while the bamboo material signifies landscape. The form opens up views towards the landscape on all sides. The whole ambiance of the place is generated by the landscape.
Landscape as Environment
It is not landscape inside a project, but a project inside landscape.
Nandi Hills estates in Bangalore is a 35-acre masterplan that places landscape design as the focus. The resorts are surrounded by natural experience, right from the buggy road, rocks, boulders, bamboo pavilion, etc, making weekend getaway memorable. The project itself is designed as a symbolic flower, positioned to maximize views and outdoor interaction on all sides. The landscaped area is higher than the built-up space, making it architecture within landscape.
A well-designed landscape comes at a price, but it yields dividends over time. Sometimes the returns are quantifiable, and sometimes not measurable, but the value-addition that the landscape offers is clearly visible. Good landscape design could be the defining factor when a client picks between two hospitality projects to visit. And the landscape enables the hospitality facility to set a premium price for renting its facility. It creates a memorable experience and repeats clients. The biggest strength of landscape is its nature to act as a multiplier to the Architectural program.