Malaysian Timber in Applications

The Four Seasons Langkawi, Malaysia

Inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Spain, the design of the Four Seasons on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi is a combination of Moorish, Arabic and Indian influences in a Malay kampong setting.

Latticed timber screens and Moorish architectural features are recurring themes in this resort. High walls with plenty of indoor courtyards to provide privacy are typical characteristics of built-forms adopting Moorish architecture.

This Arabic-Indian-Moorish-inspired beachfront resort in a Malaysian kampong setting comprises 91 guestrooms and 20 spectacular beachfront palatial suites featuring double-height ceilings and private plunge pools.

The structure featured here is the Rhu Bar, a freestanding West-facing pavilion with a cruciform plan located on the resort’s own strip of private beach. An oversized swing fixed in one external wing of the Rhu Bar adds a nice touch for a romantic sundowner. A timber latticed screen suspended from a horizontal beam is an elegant shade against the glare of the tropical sun and when viewed from the inside out, frames the seascape nicely with its simple but classy arc.

The shingled roof on exposed timber trusses and battens is supported by round timber columns on masonry stumps. Inside, the central space is characterized by a system of trusses forming an inverted pyramid which adds drama to the central space. From this dramatic core, other spaces emerge and are partitioned by a series of delicate timber screens with intricate carvings, providing a semi-private space for several alcoves set for two.

The resort’s spa consultation room is located between its reception and outdoor floating pavilions. The spa consultation area sports a lattice of chengal rafters and battens beneath a fibreglass roof. This roofing installation is not only structural but also serves as a filter for the otherwise too intense sunlight streaming into the double-volumed space.

The roof is asymmetrically held up by a painted masonry wall on one side, and square timber columns on masonry piers on the other.The roofing structure frames the pastel-coloured walls to provide an uplifting yet calming space for consultation and preparation before any spa treatments. These are complemented by the judicious use of timber in slats as simple screens and the polished balau flooring.

At the Rhu Bar, the internal timber screens hint of an Arabic influence, particularly with its mihrab-shaped doorways. Mood illumination is provided by inverted cones of pendant lights which, although a strong design feature in itself, do not overwhelm the bar’s overall design.