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.
Gove, landscaping and sustainability guru, appreciates the access to both technology and nature in Hong Kong
What is your role?
I developed the Sustainability program at Fivelements’ and have supported with landscape design. In addition to our core “Resilience through Wellness” program every Fivelements project has third party green building certificates – in Bali we are certified Tri Hita Karana Emerald, in Hong Kong we worked with the Hong Kong Green Building Council’s Beam Plus for interiors – it is my job to facilitate these certifications for the company and interpret them towards our organizational goals .
What was it like being a part of the making of Fivelements Hong Kong?
I’ve never really thought of myself being part of the making of Fivelements. I give all credit for that to Chicco and Lahra and their team. But what I have become is part of the on-going evolution, the creative vision, the deep foundation for the future.
What motivated me to be part of the on-going process of evolution, of deepening some aspects and expanding others, was a sense that Fivelements is the real deal. It’s not about luxury, although it is a luxury experience in a rustic way. It’s not about spa. It’s not even really about destination per se, although it is a gorgeous gem of a destination. It’s really about a deep connection with the innermost dimensions of oneself. It is finding those, and connecting with those deep aspects and enlivening them, that brings about transformation.
By Anne Cousin
It is easy to get caught up in the details of our lives, even suffering and losing sleep when we perceive that we have no solution to the problems we face. We can too easily forget about joyfulness of living, that aliveness itself has an essentially joyful quality.
I often guide and advise clients into slowing down, deeply sensing and feeling into their body aliveness. This is a form of Somatic meditation. Somatic means that we relate to the body. There are many ways to do this, as each person has their own unique inner resources and intelligence.
For example, every pleasurable activity can be turned into a doorstep toward gratitude, by taking a moment to notice how it feels, acknowledging its ripples in ones sense of wellness, nourishment. As we experience this the body relaxes, the brain begins secreting new hormones of wellbeing, in a what we could call a virtuous cycle. We cultivate presence, mindfulness or body-fullness.
This simple practice to shift perspective, even 5 minutes a day as a start, has a profound effect on our brain chemistry and body. Our brain has a natural tendency to register and focus on potential threats. In a given moment, we experience feeling weak or being in fear or discomfort. Yet this is only one-side of the picture— we can expand our awareness to include other perceptions. There is always a possibility to shift perspective and to feel better.
By Michael Hallock — Fivelements Wellness Curator
Sometimes people consider meditation and sport as mutually exclusive. Their thinking is that some people are the type to meditate and others are the type to play sports. After all, we usually think of meditation as sitting still with closed eyes, while sports is all about action. While there can sometimes be a divide between those two worlds, there is more and more overlap as professional athletes bridge that gap and develop peak performance through meditation and mindfulness.
What they find out is that meditation improves their focus. The meditative concept of being “in the present moment” translates directly into being more present to the game, less distracted by thoughts, emotions. Exactly what is needed to play well is what meditation teaches us — be present, be attentive, “keep your eye on the ball” as they say.
After you practice for some time, you’ll notice that meditation helps “emotional regulation” too. That is, we learn not to “sweat the small stuff”. Which means that we are less deflected by a loss of a point or a referee or judge’s decision. We learn to maintain our determination without wasting time and energy by beating ourselves up or throwing a John McEnroe style tantrum. We develop a kind of relentless perseverance, and we get back in the game.
At Fivelements we are plugged into living with a conscious mindfulness. In a world that seems to be run by stress, we understand why it is so important to have an antidote that brings physical, mental and emotional calm.
Here we present the fourth of our series of team members recommendations for how to ensure that balance, happiness and health, rather than stress, take over our lives.
Joao Ricardo Alves, Head Chef
From Earth Hour on March 25th to Nyepi on March 28th, Fivelements celebrates accordingly
As lights dim and flicker off around the world, Fivelements Bali will be joining the celebrations in remembrance of our Earth’s innate wellbeing on March 25th.
The lights-off event calls for an extinguishing of manmade light in order to shine a natural light on climate action. From individuals and businesses to city landmarks, electricity-guzzling lights are switched off for a blissful hour, highlighting the natural nighttime darkness, quiet, rich and unpolluted.
As manmade lights disappear, at Fivelements we will be marking the occasion with activities that shine in the dark. Start your evening with a delicious dinner served riverside and created by our talented Sakti Dining Room™ team. At 8:30pm, a session of enlightenment via meditation surrounded by candles sets the scene of the evening. And the highlight, quite literally, of the evening will be a Fire Ceremony, led by our resident priest, allowing guests to be energized by the intensity and power of this ancient ritual, while setting an intention for the rest of the year.
For many, a mention of the island of Bali calls up images of people playing in the pounding surf, bathing in waterfalls surrounded by verdant jungle, and farmers tending to intricate rice terraces. These images describe a traditional paradise, where the healthy relationship between the island’s more than four million inhabitants and the natural resources around them provides a balanced life of plenty. We at Fivelements are inspired by these images that we see daily but, increasingly, we are also alarmed by a more complex modern reality on the paradise island.
Looking at water specifically, we see a culture reknowned for its ingenious management of fresh water for irrigation, aquaculture, and for luxurious water gardens. The keys to the success of this traditional system are the renewable nature of the resource and the egalitarian method of distribution. For centuries the natural holding tanks of volcanic lakes and underground aquifers have stored monsoon rains for use in drier months and the unparalleled traditional Subak system has distributed this water fairly across the island. This ancient system is still in operation but available water resources are now increasingly also used by less regulated and often thirstier private wells.
REFILL BALI is a worldwide initiative that has arrived in Bali, and Fivelements is delighted to announce that it has joined the green movement. REFILL BALI offers a map of places where travellers and residents can refill their water bottles with safe, filtered water for free.
Ranging from retreats, restaurants, cafes and warungs, galleries and shops, participating businesses are delighted to provide free (or low-cost) drinking water.
At Fivelements, we offer free water to any guest who brings their own water bottle, as well as providing retreat guests with their own water bottles.
At Fivelements we are dedicated to living with increasing conscious awareness, or mindfulness. In a world that seems to be run by stress, we understand why it is so important to have an antidote that brings physical, mental and emotional calm. Here we present the third of our series of staff recommendations for ensuring that balance, happiness and health, rather than stress, fill our our lives.
Michael Hallock, Wellness Curator
“Three essential keys that help us reduce stress and improve our quality of life are physical relaxation, ease in breathing and simple curiousity.”