He turns far-flung beaches into five-star destinations.
1 of 5Photo: Courtesy of Dennison
When Jean-Michel Gathy was growing up in Belgium, his mother gave him daily milk money. “I always kept the money,” he says. “At the end of the week I’d buy a map and study it. I was traveling by wanderlust.”
Today Gathy may be the world’s most traveled architect. As principal designer of Denniston International Architects and Planners, he has amassed an expansive portfolio of top-rank coastal resorts ranging from Montenegro to the Maldives, Bora Bora to Yalong Bay, configured around exceptional water views.
2 of 5Photo: Courtesy of Cheval Blanc Randheli
The Globetrotter (cont.)
To all of the natural pleasures of the beach Gathy adds his own delights—fire pits, private plunge pools, and a grandness of scale that uplifts the spirit. He is, however, mindful that those spa pavilions and infinity pools do not upstage the serenity of the coastal settings. The architecture is stately but understated. “Nobody comes to a resort to see my design,” Gathy says. “They come to snorkel or to lie on the beach. It’s my responsibility to put my ego aside.”
“There’s a touch of vernacular in everything I design,” he adds. “People feel good at a hotel if it has a sense of place.”
3 of 5Photo: Courtesy of Cheval Blanc Randheli
Modern Maldives Escape
Cheval Blanc Randelhi, a resort on the remote island of Randheli in the Maldives, takes advantage of its seaside location with lofty ceilings and expansive windows that put the views front and center. Sleek, modern architecture is balanced out with natural, textural materials such as rattan, bamboo, leather, bronze, and shell.
4 of 5Photo: Lisa Romerein
Set on the Caribbean Turks and Caicos islands, Amanyara's 40 shingled pavilions are designed with open-air layouts, allowing sea breezes to cool down the rooms at night. Dramatic, overhanging rooflines converge with the natural landscape and provide shade for the pavilion's three outdoor terraces.
5 of 5Photo: Courtesy of Cheval Blanc Randheli
Trend Watch: Materials
“I’m gravitating to engineered wood and ceramic tiles to reduce the number of trees cut,” says Gathy.
Connect with Jean-Michel!
To learn more about Jean-Michel and his work, visit his website.
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