A journey through a golden age of pearls, seas and cultures by GM Architects
GM Architects is excited to announce the future interior design and collaboration with the Jumeirah Al Sahel Resort & Spa in Bahrain, in association with DSA architects, the first 5-star retreat resort of its kind to open in the area, set to launch by the end of 2019.
The Lebanese architectural firm, specialized in the field of high-end tourism, notably in the creation of luxury hotels and resorts is the only architecture and design company in the Middle East to regularly work with Accor, Rotana, Starwood, Marriott and Jumeirah.
Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts are regarded as among the most luxurious and innovative in the world and have won numerous international travel and tourism awards. The company was founded in 1997 with the aim of becoming a hospitality industry leader through establishing a world class portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts.
The Jumeirah Al Sahel Resort & Spa will be an impressive resort secluded from the city, which will offer a retreat style stay for local and foreign visitors looking for exclusivity. The resort will feature a variety of accommodation and entertainment options for its guests; including both room and villa accommodation, as well as family restaurants, a cinema, a teen room, kids club, conference centers, a juice bar, several bars and lounges and luxurious spa facilities.
GM Architects envisions new interiors for the Jumeirah Resort and Spa off the coast of Bahrain, near Manama, on the ancient routes of pearl traders and fishermen. The new face of the hotel is deeply rooted in local traditions and lifestyle, and embedded with a vision of modern luxury.
The design by GM Architects is a representation of the journey taken by pearl traders for millennia beginning in the heart of the city, a place of cultural exchange and lively interactions, to Bahrain’s shores, scattered with fishing huts and where life is intertwined with the sea, and finally on to the vast ocean on board a traditional boat or “Banoosh” in search of pearls and new worlds.
Visitors to the hotel will experience this journey as they move through the hotel’s diverse spaces, each which tells a part of one whole story. The architects’ main goal was to create a unique place through a holistic approach keeping very close contact with the local culture, all while assuring a relaxing and luxurious environment in line with the high standards of the Jumeirah hotels.
The main lobby is a direct invitation to enter this journey, with a welcoming glimpse of the sea in the distance, and a spectacular glass lighting installation which hangs above a seating area “Majlis,” which suggests oceanic elements like sea foam, pearls, and a light breeze. Approaching the outer façade, the visitor will pass by a water mirror that links the inside with the outside nature, as well as large bookshelves carrying objects and books as if gathered from a global explorer.
Further in to the hotel this vision of pearl traders, intercultural references, and seafarers flows naturally with the elegant and contemporary atmosphere for which GM Architects is known.
For the design of the lobby, certain private rooms, the ballrooms and the business center, GM Architects has taken direct influence from the surrounding city. Creating each space to reflect an inherent part of the local city life, such as the bustling streets, the houses with local architecture and aesthetics influenced by far away Eastern cultures, decorated with lattices and foreign materials.
The light-filled interiors of the ballrooms for instance are inspired by a wind tower, with high ceilings naturally illuminated above and adorned with meticulous geometric carvings.
The journey continues as we approach the shore, here GM Architects uses materials and traditions found closer to the sea such as seagrass weaving and elements found on boats and afloat the shore.
The hotel’s bar is an interpretation of the interior of a boat with wooden ceilings and hanging lamps that resemble ropes and pulleys.
In addition, GM Architects has added details around the hotel that are inspired by the local arts and crafts such as the hanging glass installation that follows you up the stairs, as well as the aesthetic of weaving grass native to the area.
The hotel offers a series of island bungalows and an island restaurant and bar inspired by the sea and its naturally occurring compositions and materials. Within the island bungalows, guests will be at close proximity to the resort’s main asset: the ocean.
The ultimate destination of this voyage is the sea itself, in GM Architects’ design we see the influence of the sea spread across several spaces including the resort’s bar lounge, Lebanese restaurant and spa.
The bar lounge extends onto the water and its wooden columns and ceilings resemble a boat’s mast and sails against the ocean breeze, accompanied with elegant furnishings and a breathtaking ocean view. GM Architects’ Lebanese restaurant which highlights the intercultural aspect of this project is influenced by local fishing traditions with hanging glass lamps that remind us of buoys or tropical fish beneath the surface.
The spa itself is the pearl of the resort, with luminous white light and marble interiors, it is the epicenter of relaxation and harmony.
GM Architects architecture and design firm specializes in the field of high-end tourism, notably in the creation of luxury hotels and resorts. It is one of the largest such firms in Lebanon. The company employs 40 professionals including architects and interior designers and is managed by Galal Mahmoud in partnership with Randa Chahine, Anwar Hajj and Elie Waked.
The firm has bases in Beirut and Abu Dhabi and is active worldwide. Its completed projects may be seen in France, Africa, the Middle East and throughout the Mediterranean region.
GM Architects initially specialized in interiors for the luxury and residential markets. It has since branched out and its expertise now encompasses interior design, landscape architecture and site evaluation and analysis in seafront locations. The practice is currently working on a Sofitel in Luxor, a Sheraton Resort in Dakar a high end residence in Paris, and an Accor “combo” of 3 hotels in Dubai.
GM Architects is the only architecture and design company in the Middle East to work regularly with Accor, Rotana, Starwood, Jumeirah and Rezidor.
The ‘Museum of Civilizations’ project designed by GM Architects and presented at the 2014 Venice Biennale was selected for the ‘Future project of the year’ category at the World Architecture Festival, Singapore in 2014. In March 2015, it scooped the ‘Cultural Regeneration’ category at the 26th MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects awards, before winning an‘International Architecture Award’ in 2015.
The prize for “Best New Hotel” at the 2011 International Hotel Awards and for best ‘Luxury Beach Resort’ in Northern Morocco and the ‘World Luxury Hotel Awards 2016’ went to GM Architects for their work on Sofitel Tamuda Bay. In addition, at the same ceremony in 2016 Sofitel Tamuda Bay won the ‘Great prize’ of the year.