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  • Writer's pictureFran Stockwell

When on holiday.... admire the Architecture in progress!

Lonno Lodge is an architectural gem overlooking the Indian Ocean on the Kenyan coast. A small, perfectly designed cluster of Swahili inspired buildings and traditional Makuti rooflines nestled amongst the lush green gardens .

The lodge emits the passion and attention to detail of its creator, Italian Architect, Aldo Calegari. This is one of our favourite places on earth and on our recent visit we were fortunate enough to witness Aldo and his team of local men create an addition to the lodge, a Yoga and Hammam area, hidden within the lush grounds overlooking the indian ocean.

As a designer this was inspiring to see, the creation of a building of beauty from the most basic and rudimentary beginnings.

The lodge itself sits on a coral shelf spanning the Kenyan coast line, the coral is hard, unforgiving and difficult to work with. However, the lodge and this new spa area are created from coral cut to block shapes, in the style of the stone houses found on Lamu Island, one of Kenya's original Swahili settlements.

Coral is a hard, dense and unforgiving material, add to that the lack of modern machinery, and the intense heat to work in, this makes the build extremely challenging. The build is precise, every step checked, every action taught and supervised, ensuring that it meets the vision and high standards of the architect.

The use of architectural shapes, natural light entrances, attention to detail being sympathetic and mirrored to the area without compromise.

This is a work of passion, commitment and pure beauty, a far cry from the quick builds so often seen in the west. An inspiration for those of us in design to look beyond the easy, commonplace, architectural designs to create something individual and bespoke befitting to the local environment.

The new building stands amidst the lush gardens, architectural planting displaying the beautiful shapes and textures of the plants, reinforcing the sense of calm and beauty.

This has to be Architecture at its best.

With thanks to Aldo and The Charming Lonno Lodge, Watamu, Kenya

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