Carl Almeida

P49 Design & Associates Co. Ltd.

74 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Rd,
Lumpini, Pathumwan,
Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Tel. +66 (0)2652 2900
Fax. +66 (0)2652 2200


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A Rustic + Chic Design

The interior design of this elegant Hotel in Oman was done by P49 DEESIGN. We bring you a conversation with Carl Almeida,  a Partner @ P49 DEESIGN about how they landed the project and what went into creating its beautiful interior designs.

How did you get involved in the project? Had you worked with the owner before?
P49 Deesign was directly contacted by OMRAN to provide information regarding our capability and capacity as we had never worked with either OMRAN or ALILA prior. I believe that it was some examples of our previous work that drew their attention to our company.

Were you involved in designing all areas of the property?
P49 Deesign was responsible for all interior design of the project comprising all public areas; restaurants and bars; meeting rooms; guestrooms, suites and villas; and spa.

We worked very closely with the architects to ensure that planning strategies were incorporated into the base building design which then ensured a seamless flow from exterior to interior.

What is the overall design aesthetic for the hotel?
Our design aesthetic was inspired by the locality of the site; the local culture and also the brand.
The result is a building and interior that is in harmony with the location and appears to be traditional. However the planning principles are very modern and give the spaces a contemporary framework but the way we have used strong natural textured materials gives the interior a warmth and simplicity that you would find in a traditional local home
Overall if I had to put a name to the aesthetic, I would say this is “ Rustic Chic “

Before we started the project we did a research trip of the site and surrounding areas and were totally inspired by the amazing and unique terrain as well as the many heritage sites that surround the area. The materials used in the traditional villages and details from their construction were  incorporated into  our design throughout.  Although rocky at first glance Jabal Akhdar is known as “ Green Mountain “ and has an abundance of local flora such as Pomegranite trees and also mountain roses. We used these elements as inspiration through various aspects of the project. For example Juniper and Pomegranite were used as colour schemes for some of the villas. The desert rose was used as a design for a screen that you will find throughout the public areas. This is actually what we chose as a “signature” design element for the project.

An interesting story was during our research trip we went into a traditional village home and noticed that the lady of the house was actually making rose water which we then found out was a traditional specialty of this region and for this reason we decided to make the rose a feature of our design.

Another aspect which was key to our design was that the project was required to  be energy efficient and target Gold LEED rating  ( which has been achieved ). This influenced us in all of the materials used where almost everything had to be local. Even the artwork and accessories such as pottery are from local craftsman. Artwork on the walls in the  “ Juniper Restaurant” uses local juniper wood that had fallen of trees already.

How did the property’s mountain location play into the design?
The mountain location significantly affected the design through the fact that traditional buildings from over 100 years ago were based on the materials available in the mountains. Our design follows traditional building principles however within a contemporary reference.

What did you want to create for the brand?
As we had never worked with Alila before we had researched their values and aesthetic for previous projects of theirs. We had noticed that in the past, the Alila style was clean and minimal ( in our eyes ). What we wanted to do was to take this clean aesthetic and add a much greater level of warmth into the interior. Using local natural materials such as stone in a very textured way allowed us to blend both worlds. For the area we wanted to create a world class hotel that was grounded on principles of location; site; culture and represented OMRAN (our client) and the country of Oman in a very positive way.

How was the look achieved—textures, materials, colors, etc. in the public spaces/guestrooms?
The overall palette of materials and colours was conceived following traditional village design and materials, and we wanted to have a singular design direction that continued throughout the hotel from Public spaces through guestrooms….stone….plaster….wood.

Public areas floors are stone as you would find in a traditional village home. Warmth and softness was added by numerous rugs on the floor which again is a traditional touch. These also allowed us to bring some colour into the interior as local rugs have some strong natural colour within the weave designs.

Walls generally are raw stone from the surrounding area while this has been broken up in some areas by soft textured plastered walls in simple off white. This philosophy continues in guestrooms where the walls are a mix of raw stone and plaster.An additional touch on the walls of the bedrooms ( and in some of the public areas )  are “hand painted” murals of local flora done by local artists

Was all the stone/wood used sourced locally or did it come from elsewhere?
All stone and wood was sourced locally. This was important in achieving the LEED Gold rating

Can you tell me about the objects lining the shelves in the lobby?
Almost all of the numerous objects located throughout the hotel were sourced by OMRAN from local sources in Oman based on our guidance. Objects are based on various traditional techniques incorporating copper and other metalwork and pottery

Is that a fireplace in the center of the lobby? How was that constructed?
There is a large fireplace that “anchors” the lobby. Made out of hammered metal the overall look is based on maintaining a traditional aesthetic. There is a contemporary looking flame that eminates from the base from the entire perimeter to blend the modern aesthetic with traditional.

What is the artwork that adorns the walls in the guestrooms?
All of the artwork in the guestrooms are local implements and tools for daily living. These are sourced locally and made by local Omani craftsman.

What are the highlights/standouts of the design for you?
For me the whole projects works so  well together to represent the location perfectly. It is exactly what a destination hotel should be and has a sense of place that is unique to Jabal Akhdar and this region. It could not be anywhere else in the world ! It really is all about the site and  location. All we did was respond to it.

Can you speak about the specific challenges of designing this property, and how you worked around them?
The key challenge of designing this property was to understand the locality and culture. Once we understood that after our research trip, there were no significant challenges from a design point of view.We had a fantastic owner (OMRAN) that trusted us to do their first world class hotel and let us design what we felt was ‘right’. Alila was also very supportive of our ideas and added value in terms of operational strategies and efficiencies.

If there were any real challenges, it was the actual construction on site in a fairly remote location where access was difficult. Full credit goes to the site team and the various contractors that worked tirelessly to achieve this amazing outcome.