Ketut, The Making of Fivelements Hong Kong

Ketut, architect and interior designer, focusing on creating a calm, friendly, spiritual – and surprising – space

What do you think Hong Kongers will respond to the most?

The idea here is to bring something different that no one else has done in Hong Kong. Sometimes architecture and interior design is about following trends or looking classic, but we have brought a concept that is similar to what we have created in Bali and which is aligned with our Fivelements’ holistic integrative concept.

I especially like the fact you cannot predict what is inside by looking at the outside. Even though the building from the outside has a very international look, once you enter inside we want you to be surprised. All our rooms are different. And not only different but we have tried to bring to the space a spiritual feel using unusual materials in an unusual way. We have chosen the various stone, for example, and the bamboo, to bring nature inside. You jump from a cityscape to a tropical interior.

Upstairs in the Yoga Room, the curving ceiling is one of the ways we have tried to surprise people. The building on the outside is very regular so inside we are avoiding any square structure – one of Lahra’s requirements for wellness design. We want to give people space to move around without barriers and in the Yoga Room every angle has a different feel. Every time you walk in here the space is so inspirational you really feel great.

What are some of the difficulties in creating Fivelements in Hong Kong?

With the Royal Tea Lounge pavillion we tried to create a real tea space with a wooden house. But regulations dictate that we can’t use wood, so we have a stone pavilion in this beautiful open space. We had to change the roof so it can’t have the alfresco feel we hoped for either, but when you sit in there you will still feel surrounded by nature with the pond and garden.

As you can hear, there have been some challenges. I would add Hong Kong regulations, and working with a Hong Kong rather than Balinese team, with their budget, finish and aesthetic decisions and compromises. However, we have enjoyed the learning process. And in the end it has turned out well and we are happy with the result.

What are some of your favourite parts of Fivelements Hong Kong?

The Watsu Pool on the first floor turned dead space into this incredible room with a window that shows the green of the hills outside – it looks like an indoor pool.

And back of house… Other workers are jealous when they see the space the wellness team will be working in. It is very important to support the staff, and we have done the same in Bali. We have created a space where everyone can feel good working conditions, inspiring and collaborative in spirit. They can be in contact with each other, but with views of nature too. So even though it is back of house, it has a front of house feel.

Which details stand out the most to you?

think the bamboo screens, thought up by interior designer Giovanni, are a really nice touch. And also the small Balinese windows in the Boutique and Reception evoke a feeling of curiosity – what is behind the windows? Try to open and you’ll be sure to find a treasure…

Even though this project is in Hong Kong, we still found creative ways to weave in the magic of Fivelements!

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