New eco-resort Bisate Lodge gives a fresh spin to indigenous architecture in Rwanda.
Johannesburg practice Nicholas Plewman Architects designed the six hillside villas beside Volcanoes National Park, taking inspiration from the King’s Palace at Nyanza. The thatched-roof spheres have been built inside an eroded volcanic cone and have a basket-like appearance, with ribbed walls and floor-to-ceiling glazing that peeks out towards Mount Bisoke.
‘Culture, in the form of traditional architecture, craft and beliefs, has been incorporated into the lodge design and interiors,’ says Keith Vincent, CEO of Wilderness Safaris group which operates the 103-acre resort.
Each holiday villa has its own living room and en-suite bedroom, and is set around a central volcanic stone fireplace.
Designer Caline Williams-Wynn of Cape Town practice Artichoke created the lodge interiors with input from fashion designer Teta Isibo. Rooms are decked in Rwandan textiles and furnishings decorated with imigongo. The local art form uses hardened cow dung to create geometric patterns, decorated with coloured soils.
Elsewhere, emerald green chandeliers made from recycled glass hang in the living rooms and cowhide rugs dot the floors.
Bisate Lodge costs from $1,400 per person, per night, and is currently in the running for a 2017 African Architecture Award.
Visitors to the eco-tourist resort can go gorilla trekking in the national park, and engage in Wilderness Safaris’ extensive reforestation programme in the area.
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