The seaside resort of Maslina in Croatia celebrates natural materials and Japanese design
On the sunny, pine-lined island of Hvar in Croatia, the elegant Maslina Resort by LAM Studio, based in Paris, perfectly blends indoor and outdoor spaces to create a modern and balanced oasis. The new eco-friendly five-star resort channels the serenity of its unique natural surroundings through the use of local textures, natural materials and Japanese design concepts.
Designed by Léonie Alma Mason, CEO of LAM, the 50 suites, three private villas and expansive gathering spaces evoke a sense of communion with the immediate outdoors – from the soft, nature-inspired color palette to organic linens and custom wooden bathtubs. The common areas, adhering to the theme of ‘conscious luxury’, are open and simple spaces showcasing selected objects that play with the island’s sunlight and mimic the changing shadows of the surrounding pine forest.
From the start, Mason’s goal was to demonstrate a deep connection between the meticulously designed hotel and the wild and effortless beauty of its surroundings. Inspired by his own childhood memories of Hvar’s ‘magnificent contrasts’ – his family spent the summer on the island in the late 90s, right after the war – Mason’s design pays homage to the salty breeze from the Adriatic Sea, with local geological characteristics and imposing pine trees that make the region unique.
Located off the Dalmatian coast, Hvar sits next to the island of Brač, known worldwide for its white sand stone, which has been quarried since ancient times and used in the construction of many large structures in the world, including the lobby of the United Building of the United Nations Secretariat in New York. Embracing local pride in this magnificent natural resource, the Maslina lobby features a sculptural twelve-ton Brač stone reception desk. “I went to choose the exact part in the stone quarry of Brač”, explains Mason. “Due to its enormous size and weight, we had to move the room into the empty concrete space first, before any other architectural element was finished. It was a big challenge. “Although cracked, the huge stone was repaired with the help of Japanese Kintsugi technical.
A similar fusion of natural elements, Croatian materials and Japanese shapes is found throughout the hotel. In the restaurant, long custom-made benches edged with black vertical wooden planks evoke a bamboo forest at night. Pine-green glass light fixtures (from Italian lighting brand Karman) hanging over olive-black polished lava stone tables match the dark hues of the forest floor, and black terracotta tiles with delicate ridge patterns of fish evoke the movement of pine branches. The hotel’s bathroom sinks, custom-made with local Masliniza stone, match the exotic wood bathtubs from Iroko, specially designed by LA.M Studio and custom-made for the hotel. hotel. “The softness of pine makes it unsuitable for public places, so we chose wood that can be used both indoors and outdoors, with the sea air and the sun. Iroko wood adds warmth and continuity that extends into the commons, library and bar.
Ethereal white curtains tame the light in common areas, their rise and fall drawing attention to the sea breeze, and classic Cuba chairs provide simple comfort in the lobby, wine club lounge, and spa. In the 7,500-square-foot freestanding spa, a trellis adorned with bamboo woodwork (made on-site by French company Déambulons) hangs beneath the spa’s huge glass ceiling, casting intricate shadows on the building’s monumental staircase . Touches of vintage brass give the hotel traces of yesteryear European glamor: “Luckily, I found some amazing vintage Italian brass fixtures from the 1960s at Stari Grad Town Hall in the village right next to the hotel. This discovery inspired the addition of bronze mirrors, corduroy and clear glass pendants.
A frequent traveler and multinational herself, Mason says she seeks authenticity in the places she visits – a truly intimate local experience – in addition to the elements of luxury. “I imagined someone like me, attentive to detail but looking for free and easy movement from the inside to the outside. I imagine guests walking barefoot from the beach to their hotel rooms on a sunny day, enjoying the terracotta floors with their own feet.
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