SHL Asia

How do architects

actually find inspiration and ideas, and then make them come alive? It is not an easy process, nor a linear one. Being creative is work, it takes time and effort. Ideas can be found in every place and every situation, even when you expect it the least. Creative process of an architect may differ from one another. One may just spend some quiet time and find a muse. While others may go out door or spend a lot of time on site. We would walk through the property and explore the area as the inspiration for Natya Resorts came to us.

For us, one of the initial and crucial processes in finding inspiration is to be open-minded and to take in any possibility out there. The process in making Natya Resort landscape design, of course, involved a lot of research and observation like in every other project. We spent some time on site to study the landscape as we wanted to truly feel the ambiance and it helped us to figure out what kind of story we would want to bring to the table. As architects, we always wish to provide unique experiences in every project to give a personal touch for people to remember hence, it is important to differentiate each project by paying more attention to details.

Since this project is located in Ubud,

Bali’s highland, we had to understand first the texture and contour of the landscape surrounding Ubud. The area is truly blessed with plenty of rainfall which makes the river flowing, rich soil, bountiful jungle and paddy rice all year around. These are the things that people come to Ubud for, it is what makes Ubud perfect for a peaceful and romantic retreat. The site is nestle deep in the heart of Ubud rain forest preserve. It is situated on the sides of a steep valley, a rather unusual land contour which was quite challenging. Another thing to keep in mind was that not only we had to preserve the native environment and nature, but also to respect the local tradition.

A couple of the concepts

we used for Natya Resort Ubud are the concept of “tegalan” and “subak.” Tegalan is a term for agricultural land turned into a plantation field, containing different variety of fruit trees and vegetation. As for subak, not only it functions as irrigation system for paddy fields in Bali but also a direct overview of the philosophy of Tri Hita Karana for Balinese people. There are a lot of tegalan and subak throughout the area, due to the richness and fertility of Ubud. We wanted to elevate the concept of tegalan and subak to the level of hospitality as in resorts and villa for this project.

The range of tropical fruit trees includes:

  • water apple (syzygium aqueum)
  • sugar apple (annona squamosa)
  • banana (musa acuminate)
  • jackfruit (artocarpus heterophyllus)
  • bilimbi (averrhoa bilimbi)
  • kedondong (spondias dulcis)
  • coconut tree (cocos nucifera)

We also applied tropical native and decorative trees and shrubs, such as:

  • frangipani (plumeria)
  • butterfly tree (bauhinia ‘blakeana’)
  • traveller’s palm (ravenala madagascariensis)
  • tower tree (schizolobium parahyba)
  • weeping fig (ficus benjamina)
  • ferns tree (nephrolepis exaltata)
  • bird nest (asplenium nidus)
  • cola de paloma (xiphidium caeruleum)

Some of these flower plants and tress function as plants of birds, they would attract birds which is also good for the environment. They planted scattered all through the site, all along the pathways and around the villas. Meanwhile, we integrated the original subak to the manmade subak which flowing through the site.

Another concept for Natya came when thinking about Ubud as the heart of culture and art. It gave us an idea to bring the daily life of Bali through the details of artworks, and the application of local materials. Things such as chicken cages and cow’s bell that are part of village landscape were utilized as lamp cases and hanging decoration. The pergolas all over the resort implemented hardwood like ironwood that is proper for outdoor usage. The relief carvings of Bali’s daily life and folk stories on some kerobokan sandstone walls along the pathway in the project. We as well placed statues from sandstone and wooden artworks in every corner of the resort. We hoped these little; precise details will tell stories to the guests, adding a nice touch to their experience.

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Besides spending time on site, we would also spend hours looking at images and talking to the architect and clients. The landscape must be build to complement the buildings and vice versa hence, the conversation with the architect is also crucial. We wanted to design the landscape so the buildings seem blending beautifully with the surrounding nature. We plant a lot of trees that function as a barrier to keep privacy and especially to preserve the lush nature of the site because the buildings were designed to be nature oriented. This will ensure the guests can interact with nature from the privacy of their vil

Talking to our clients is another thing in designing this project. We must know what the clients want and need. We tried our best to visualize it and were pleased to have one vision regarding the Natya Resort project with the owner. We seem to have a great synergy and often give each other feedback.  The creative process in making the design of Natya Project was challenging and thrilling at the same time. Inspiration and ideas really came from many sources. We embraced them and incorporate one another with the result of some beautiful harmonious elements which makes Natya Resort truly one and only. For more insight of the landscape design, check out our video down below!


SHL Asia team