Less is more in this Bali luxe abode

OXO Living’s upcoming development, designed by Alexis Dornier, uses a light touch for big impact

How does one create modern, luxe living in a serene environment without spoiling its natural charm? For boutique property developer OXO Living, it is all about seamless integration with local culture and a focus on sustainability.

Its upcoming OXO The Residences in Nyanyi, Bali is set to be completed around end-2026. Spanning two hectares, the development will comprise 40 “neo-luxury” villas, says OXO, with sizes ranging from 184 sq m to 280 sq m.

“We wanted to create a sense of luxury and comfort and usability in a finite amount of space,” says Alexis Dornier, the architect behind the project. “When you create 40 buildings, they all have to work together, and they all have to be part of the composition,” he tells Options, noting that doing so was a “challenge”.

The aesthetic goal with OXO The Residences, Dornier says, is to “deliver a design that is both understated and emblematic” of Bali’s “natural beauty and cultural heritage”.

To achieve this, he looked at what the area had to offer, with an eye on “structures that are deeply rooted in the island’s identity”. To that end, materials from the surrounding regions, including volcanic stone from Kerobokan and bricks from Tabanan, are being used in the construction of the villas.

“Awareness of context and culture is very important in architecture,” Dornier explains, “as it is literally the imprint and the manifestation of culture itself.” He adds that creating homes that will “recognise, respect, and playfully interact with” local culture and tradition is a core tenet of his design philosophy.

Sustainable meets minimal

Using local materials is not just a matter of blending in, though. Dornier and his team avoid working with materials that need to be imported, so fewer resources are used on transport. They also consider “how (they can) just use less material in general, which has an impact on the carbon footprint … of the building and its maintenance.”

This emphasis on sustainable development is incorporated throughout OXO The Residences. In particular, Dornier focused on cooling, an especially important facet of home design in the tropics. High-grade window systems, for instance, prevent heat from penetrating the villas in the day. Outdoor plants add further shielding, reducing solar heat gain.

Dornier points out that a less-is-more approach is also useful for keeping homes cool and reducing the amount of air-conditioning needed. A minimal touch is also good for long-term upkeep, he adds. “Building less is important, in the sense that … you also need less energy to maintain it, meaning less energy to cool it and less money to keep things in shape.”

Other green features in OXO The Residences include solar panels, as well as rainwater catchment areas and treatment facilities. On the latter, Dornier says: “We’re trying to have open surfaces for our roads and pathways, to ensure the rainwater (travels back to) the water table, instead of being washed into the ocean.” This reduces the need for more energy-intensive water treatment techniques, such as desalination, and lowers the amount of water that needs to be pumped into the development from elsewhere.

It’s not easy being green

Of course, developing homes while being mindful of the environment is no walk in the park. OXO Living has faced several challenges in doing so, including with past projects, says Johannes Weissenbaeck, the company’s founder and CEO.

“Implementing sustainable practices often necessitates significant upfront investments and can sometimes lead to higher costs in construction and operation,” he says, adding that striking a balance between sustainability and commercial viability is tricky.

Still, environmental consciousness remains a core tenet of OXO Living’s approach to property development and management, he says. This is not only to preserve the planet, he explains, but also to improve the quality of the homes it builds. “By actively engaging in sustainable practices, we not only reduce our environmental impact, but also enhance the livability and efficiency of our properties.”

One with nature

Even with its lengthy list of sustainability credentials, OXO The Residences maintains all the trappings of modern luxury living.

Taking inspiration from Indonesia’s paddy fields, the villas are staggered on tiered plateaus, optimising views of the surroundings through floor-to-ceiling windows. Wooden slats on the facade add privacy, without disrupting the vibe of being one with the outdoors. Similar textures — timber and stone — are employed inside the villas, continuing to blur the line between inside and outside.

The volcanic stone from Kerobokan, Dornier notes, is durable, easy to maintain and easy to replace. “We are really excited to use this material,” he says, noting that its colour makes it “visually and graphically integrative” into the rest of the development.

High colour contrast keeps the space modern — stained wooden accents make the cream stone walls and light floors pop, so everything looks crisp and sharp. The benefits of Dornier’s minimalist hand are felt again here: clean lines and corners, in addition to a lack of frou-frou, inject the villas with a sense of contemporary opulence.  

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