In an increasingly complicated and mechanized world, this new resort encourages visitors to focus on the essential elements of nature, good health, fine dining, human connections and relaxation
The Maldives has long been synonymous with exclusivity and exorbitance: a sandbox and sunspot for the uber-wealthy where seemingly impossible missions, like building an underwater restaurant, come true.
Even by those impeccable standards, the Patina Maldives in the Fari Islands is something special. Grounded in the biophilic school of design which seeks to create a sense of harmony and symbiosis between architecture and the natural world, the resort exudes the nature-savvy vibe that is the archipelago’s main draw.
Fielding a question via email about his overall game plan, Marcio Kogan, the acclaimed architect of Brazilian extraction, said, “In the Maldives, sand, skies and ocean, all architecture can do is humbly filter the lights and frame the views, to create different narratives as one strolls around the magnificent surroundings.”
Such narratives are essential to both the resort’s design and appeal. Hidden away in the Fari Islands archipelago in the North Malé Atoll, these five-star facilities provide a series of cinematic backdrops for guests to live out a range of dramas. Some may want to co-create their own wellness journey with the resident gurus known as “essentialists.” Others might be gourmands on a wining and dining trip. Some guests come to party at the Fari Marina Village and Fari Beach Club. Others may prefer a stretch of solitary refinement to heal. Visitors who are more artistically inclined might opt for an interactive music program. Yet many may choose to combine parts of these different itineraries into their own bespoke stay.
The architect spoke of this human tendency to embrace dualities and embody contradictions as it pertains to Patina Maldives. “The resort provides an opportunity to be together in isolation. It is one of the most remote places on earth and still it’s a place designed for people to see and meet with each other. Patina Maldives embraces our natural conflicts: the desire for peace and parties; for nature and design; technology and rusticity; self-indulgence and deep reflections; bare feet and high heels,” he said.
Wow! That is a lot of information to process, but Marcio’s school of design is devoted to distilling the essence of projects through simplicity. It’s an approach, he conceded, that “takes a lot of effort.”
The brief, he added, was “always open and inspiring.” During meetings with the client, the Capella Hotel Group, the conversations took lots of detours, wandering into areas like art, food, music and the emotional palette they wanted to create for guests to colorize their stories and experiences here.
Founded in the late 1970s, Studio MK27 has a trophy case containing some 250 national and international awards. At the helm for these decades, Marcio, who heads up a team of 30 architects, has enjoyed numerous distinctions both as an architect and a professor in one of Brazil’s top schools. Lionized at home and feted abroad, Marcio was listed as one of the 100 most influential persons in Brazil by Época magazine and was included on Wallpaper’s “150 Famous for 15 Years” list.
Putting natural materials to good use, the 90 pool villas, ranging from one to three bedrooms, and 20 studios, reveal the firm’s dedication to the Brazilian modernist school of architecture, which combines simple elegance with painstaking attention to detail. As he pointed out, this style, also denotes “an intense integration between interiors and exteriors.”
Nowadays, living in tune with nature through sustainable practices like the three R’s of reduce, reuse and recycle, eating organic, locally grown produce and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors has become a lifestyle for many people. The hospitality industry has had to reflect that shift in values. Patina Maldives does not buck the trend. The resort’s main energy source is the bare bulb of the sun. All the fish on the menu are sustainable. And single-use plastic is banned.
If these features are common enough in the tourism world of today, the first property in the Patina Hotels & Resorts portfolio stakes out its own turf in other ways. For example, under the Rhythm and Vibes section on the website, it mentions the “Keepers of Your Journey,” are “essentialists” who “accompany you as you flow between encounters of sanctuary, stimulation and captivating experiences.” This “flow” is integral to the resort’s philosophy and works beautifully with the islands’ surroundings and different treatments like “watsu” – a form of shiatsu that takes place in chest-deep water.
One can see this “flow” interpreted in the way the lines of the villas and studios seem to flow into the sky, the surf and sand, to create an overall effect vital to any such touristic enterprise: a sense of the whole as greater than its parts, which is also designed to make guests feel whole again and wholly like themselves.
That sense of individuality takes precedence at Patina Maldives. By way of a final question for the architect it seemed fitting to ask Marcio about his favorite spot in the resort. “I see a few moments of subtlety and emotion: the view of the framed sky at the very center of the James Turrell Pavilion,” he said. “The delicate presence of a tiny flower stand, as you enter the village. A low chair under a tree shadow, overlooking the most beautiful bright shade of blue water in the world, listening to Chet Baker. Can it get any better?”
Patina Maldives, Fari Islands