We've got some big news for Itz'ana's most petite residences: you're getting an upgrade. We've taken a few of our One Bedroom Cottages and redesigned them to provide even more dynamic space for our owners to enjoy. Today, we premiere the new design to the world with the man who knows it best.
After a meeting of the minds in New York this week, we found the time to sit with our architect, Roberto de Oliveira Castro, to pick his brain about the design of Itz'ana and especially the details of the upgraded One Bedroom Loft Cottage.*
(*We even twisted his arm to sketch his ideas out for us - you're in for a treat!)
Q: Let's start with the focal point of the moment: what were the main design drivers behind this new One Bedroom Loft Cottage?
Roberto: The initial focus on the previous one-bedroom was to create a hotel suite built for short-term stays. The feedback received from the market was that owners really wanted this to be more of a home, to have space to cook, to entertain, to have friends stay over, and to be able to work from the cottage. We imagined ourselves in this setup and started sketching. Bit by bit we saw some really interesting ways we could switch the spaces around to create all of these possibilities without making it prohibitively expensive.
Q: What aspects of the loft are you most proud of?
Roberto: There are always some design challenges you need to work around. Here we really wanted to create different spaces, each with their own privacy and comfort. After reconsidering the sequence of the spaces, the mezzanine level and staircase turned from being a challenge into the focal point, something really attractive and unique that is fully functional. A mezzanine level always has a certain appeal, a level of romanticism. Very few people have them at home, but knowing this is a resort setting, we can be playful. It's exciting, it makes great use of the space and is ultimately a really enjoyable space to live in.
Q: It sounds like a lot of attention to detail!
Roberto: Always! There has to be. We were pushed to be more creative than any other projects we have done so far. In contrast to a primary residence, this unit needs to fulfill many different uses and needs to inspire new functions. For instance, we wanted to have a lot of flexibility with the lounge. The goal is to create a space that can function as a chill-out area, an entertainment zone, or a second bedroom. In the kitchenette, the counter can be a great place to eat breakfast, or can serve as a bar when entertaining your friends. As the day progresses, each space evolves as needed.
Q: How does designing a resort residence differ from a normal house?
Roberto: It's more fun! It is a great opportunity to be creative and go beyond where you might have gone in a regular home. As a team, we want to ensure we are never just doing more of the same, we never want it to be boring. The residences have to have the functionality of a house, but they also need the fantasy element of a resort. We want the owner excited, a constant reminder that they're in paradise, that this is their "happy place". The site itself is also a big factor, as every unit is waterfront so we have the luxury of making water the focal point. We're very happy we can give people the option to sit downstairs over the water, perfect for breakfast, or be upstairs with a rooftop feel and the view for sundowners. There is something for everyone!
Q: You've been working on this project since its inception, how has it been?
Roberto: Time flies: it's been about 18 months, and it's been awesome! Honestly, it's a big project with a lot of different unit types and many opportunities to design. The mandate from the start was to create a project that stands the test of time and will be seen as a iconic within the destination for many years to come. We want it to feel organic, with many types of structures creating views and character. It's been amazing to see it all come to life, and to see the entire development team come together to execute it. It's a lot of work but it's very exciting and I won't know what to do when it opens and there's no more designing, I may just need to take some time off and relax at one of the residences….and maybe test out the private butler service!
Q: Have you worked anywhere like Belize before?
Roberto: It's funny, I'm a Swiss, Colombian born architect who lives and works between Boston and Guatemala and I've worked on projects in the Middle East, in Europe and Central America. All that said, I've never quite seen anywhere like Belize! It's such a diverse place but it is small and really easy to get around. Every time you think you know it, it surprises you!
From the jungles and ancient ruins, to the reefs, beaches, islands and diving.. It's really a destination that always surprises me, shows me and teaches me something new! Totally unique.
Want to learn more about the One Bedroom Loft, or any of our other luxury residences? Talk to our team today.