GDM has a track record of delivering award-winning international projects and the Lava Hotel Samoa on Apia’s waterfront is no exception. Acknowledged at the 2020 RED Awards with an International Special Award, this 4-star hotel has been built with millennial travellers in mind. It has a modern, contemporary feel, with an open, somewhat eclectic style, incorporating local Samoan cultural design and influences.
The hotel’s design concept draws on cultural elements unique to Samoa. Reference to large traditional Samoan watercrafts, known as Va’-tele, have been used throughout. Sunshades within the communal spaces depict maritime motifs of large sails from traditional pacific voyages. As one of Samoa’s oldest cultural art forms, Siapo patterns dominate Samoan culture.
GDM worked closely with Ignite Architects and Statement ID to manufacture and install all of the public space joinery to best reflect this culture in what was a custom one off build. The distinctive geometric patterns of Siapo beautifully flood the reception counter, dining and bar area.
Aspects of Siapo have been contemporised to bring a modern flair to celebrate Samoa’s strong cultural heritage. Stencil painting over recycled timber, pattern routed veneer plywood, and painted 3-d routed panels are integrated into units throughout.
Ignite worked closely with client Digicel to create a unique cultural experience for both domestic and international tourists. Discerning travellers today want to feel the history and culture of a place they are visiting. At the core of Lava Hotel’s design philosophy, is the art of translating the brand into a locally unique experience that resonates with each guest.
Designed with an emphasis on social interaction, public spaces lie at the heart of the hotel. The defining lines between the public areas of the hotel are intentionally fluid to allow guests a space for visual connection and interaction. In line with Digicel’s tech savvy brand, the hotel needed to be a place where technology is celebrated. The ‘new age’ traveller typically spends less time in hotel rooms and more time socialising in common areas. Communal tables and benches invite guests to relax in the modern Samoan atmosphere, creating an attractive space for collaboration and sharing. Each area supports the use of WIFI and plug in technology to allow multiple users on devices in the shared zones.
The hotel features a garden pool area adjoining the restaurant and bar providing sheltered outdoor spaces, so guests can still enjoy the tropical air year-round. Panoramic views from the hotel’s conference room located on the first floor, form the ideal backdrop for guest functions.
The hotel comprises of 49 boutique rooms spread over three levels. Guest rooms are tucked inside the heart of the hotel, accessed via a courtyard. Upon entry, rooms celebrate a modern twist on Samoa’s heritage through patterns and colours used. Hues of green create a calming atmosphere that represents Samoa’s lush tropical greenery. Accents of orange and red give each room a pop of colour, similar to the bright flowers found throughout the island. Hero artwork pieces within the guest rooms have been designed by local Samoan artist Josh Leifi. These pieces provided the opportunity to show off impressive artwork within the guest rooms, while supporting the local creative community.
Use of light-coloured materials on the hotel’s exterior significantly reduce the amount of heat absorbed from Samoa’s hot climate. Natural ventilation and deep roof overhangs help to limit the impact of the rainy season and give guests an all-weather communal space. Rainwater is harnessed from the roof to naturally water the surrounding gardens and plants. Rainwater is collected in planters, storing the water until required.
Lava hotel was in the Construction Close-Out stage when the world went into Lockdown. With the core design team based offshore, Ignite worked closely with Digicel and their representatives on-site to commission the project remotely. It was a new and unique way for all parties involved in commissioning Lava Hotel.
Since opening in April, the hotel has been catering to domestic guests and tourists daily. The local market has welcomed the new hotel with open arms. Local tourists have been enjoying the space to relax with friends and family, while making full use of the hotel’s facilities.