Architecture : Bisate Wins Global Prix Versailles Interior Award – Mark Garzancich – Medium
May 2018 — Wilderness Safaris’ Bisate Lodge was recognised as the World Winner for Hotel Interior Architecture at the Prix Versailles Awards World Ceremony, which took place on 15 May 2018 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Bisate also received a special mention for winning the Hotel Interior Architecture Award in the Africa and Middle East category.
Bisate Lodge is steeped in traditional Rwandan design, culture and architecture
Lead interior designer, Caline Williams-Wynn from Artichoke, commented that it was a great honour for her team to receive this esteemed recognition, in partnership with Wilderness Safaris and Nick Plewman Architects. “Bisate’s interiors reflect the colourful life and culture of the Rwandan community”, she added. “We used touches of emerald green, seen in the chandeliers and textiles, which is reminiscent of the verdant greens of the rainforests, as well as the vibrant markets that dot the villages throughout the country. The black and white cow hides reflect the rural way of life, while the volcanic stone used in the fireplaces echoes the volcanoes of the adjacent Volcanoes National Park”.
Nestled within the amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, Bisate comprises six luxurious en-suite forest villas, all with sweeping views towards the Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno volcanoes. The main area includes a lounge, dining, bar area and wine cellar. Furnishings in the lodge are also decorated using “imigongo,” an art form unique to Rwanda.
Actively promoted by UNESCO and the International Union of Architects, the Prix Versailles Awards have been running since 2015 and are held annually to recognise the most remarkable structures, in terms of both interior and exterior architecture. “Because the Prix is associated with Versailles, we want that world-renowned symbol of beauty and elegance to serve not as a model but as a beacon or impetus for quality commercial architecture, today and tomorrow”, commented the Prix Versailles organisers.
“To have won this prestigious award for Bisate is testament to the collaborative effort involved in launching this truly world-class ecotourism offering”, said Grant Woodrow, Wilderness Safaris Chief Operations Officer. “Obviously there was a principal architect — in this case Garreth Kriel from Nicholas Plewman Architects and Associates — who pulled the project together, with designers Caline Williams-Wynn and Nilfah Adams from Artichoke, but over many months there was meaningful input from a whole suite of people ranging from additional architects and interior designers, to the National Ethnographic Museum, local textile experts, the full gamut of Wilderness Safaris and our local Rwandan partners”.
“Our overall design concept for Bisate was based on the principle that ‘Purpose is the new Luxury’, with our vision being to create a world-class ecotourism venture that will make a far-reaching positive impact on more than ‘just’ the Critically Endangered mountain gorilla. Bisate not only offers our guests something completely unique to the Rwandan landscape, but a lodge that is steeped in local design, culture and traditional architecture”, Grant added.
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