Six Senses Hideaway Samui; image credit: Six Senses
Oh how we wish we could be whisked away to the beach instead of cooped up in the Big Smoke, hot, bothered and sticky. For now, though, we must content ourselves with gazing dreamily at pictures of turquoise waters and white sands until The Summer Holiday finally appears on the horizon.
Image credit: Six Senses
So absorbed have we become in exotic seaside fantasies, we tracked down spa design guru Eva Shivdasani (above), who has the enviable role of Creative Director for Six Senses, and for whom life is literally a beach.
Here are her pearls of wisdom:
Our home is… on Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives, but Six Senses headquarters are in Bangkok. Every summer I go to Sweden for a working holiday. My place is on a lake in the middle of a very beautiful area.
But I feel like I live… on Singapore Airlines. I yo-yo back and forth between the Maldives and Bangkok.
We moved to Maldives years before we opened Soneva Fushi… to prepare for the construction of the resort. Soneva Fushi is now 15 years old.
Six Senses Soneva Gili; image credit: Six Senses
I would say my style is… simple, comfortable, practical, and very hygienic. (For example, I have banned bedspreads decorative cushions or silly little throws on the beds). I also like to create flattering light layouts (I do them all myself) for our guests and would never dream of putting a down light coming from above a wash basin or restaurant table creating dark, unflattering shadows.
I have always been the person in the company to bug everyone regarding saving the environment… I strive to use only sustainable woods and products. At Soneva Fushi all the poles are old English telegraph pine poles that we found in an old depot in UK. Most of Soneva Gili is built with cedar, and pine and Soneva Kiri with cedar, pine and bamboo, all from plantations.
Six Senses Hideaway, Hua Hin; image credit: Six Senses
When it comes to the design… I try to make guests not want for anything, there should be enough hooks to hang on, no logos, except on the stationary (I don’t want guests to feel too much that it’s a resort, but more a home away from home), fun items that make guests laugh (when someone laughs, they relax), only monochrome interiors, no patterns, in general. This relaxes the eyes.
I don’t usually put any paintings on the walls… as I find this to be such a personal thing which is better in a home. Abstract art pieces are ok, like an old beautiful root for example.
Six Senses Hideaway Hua Hin; image credit: Six Senses
I don’t have a huge preference for any special colours in the room… I always use hand woven cotton from a company called Barefoot. They make the most amazing colours of yarn and they are also very socially conscientious. Their company helps women to stay home in the rural areas to weave.
I like very much to re-use what nature and life provides... I would make a chandelier from a beautiful branch, a chair from the branches of a tree that has fallen, a table from an old cable drum, menu covers from a slice of a tree trunk, etc.
I hate waste… and would go at great length to be able to re-use something. I now strive to stop using normal (even recycled) paper and instead use Pineapple, Mulberry and even Elephant Dung paper. We never use throw-away chopsticks, unless they are made from bamboo. We make our own water (even crystal energized) and have banned imported mineral water in bottles (which anyway is not always that healthy.)
Six Senses Soneva Kiri; image credit: Six Senses
I think they key to a successful spa… is seriousness. One has to feel totally confident that the therapists really know what they are doing. All our therapists must have very good references and be very knowledgeable.
My inspiration… just comes to me. I am inspired on a daily basis – like a rake could be a wall light and an old manhole a tabletop for example.
All my life I loved to create things… When I was little I made my own birthday and Christmas cards, I made a lot of items to give away as presents and when I was 12 I started to make my own clothes. They were quite outrageous and in Sweden at the time anyone dressing different to everyone else was considered strange.
A house becomes a home when… there is a story and a heart in every item. I could never have someone else do my home completely as it would not be “me”. Everyone needs to have their own history in their home.
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