MASON: Design Description
Inspired by its local craftsmanship of stonemasonry, Ang Sila community, concrete and stone has been carefully cut and crafted, forming a unique design architecture. The ultra-modern luxury pool villas, MASON, is a hideaway resort which naturally blended into existing land and seascapes. The resort has been designed to create one of a new experience for relaxing with the stunning ocean backdrop, boasting a private pool in every single villa, exposing sunlight by its large greenery roof-deck, and eventually dining in a romantic sun setting scenario at beachside bar.
The private pool villas is harmonized within its topography of the land not only by its material selection, but also within its individual setting of 35-unique-villas, that is to preserve its site condition as much as possible, minimizing impact to the environment. Approaching from double-height welcoming lobby space, our senses will be emerged when walking through stepping-stone grand stairs. Before reaching to the beach, architectural hierarchy of space is conceived not only by visual dynamic through different level of reflective pools, but over proprioceptive sensation through a combination of transitional space between outdoor and semi-outdoor as spatial manipulations as well.
In descending the slope, the cave-like villas are carved on one third of the 4,600 square-meter site, maximizing the sea view, while keeping tranquility and privacy within. Located nearest the sea, two rows of one-bedroom villas are entered from above, via an open-air staircase from the back, which arrives on the spacious sundeck terrace. Light and shadow play with positive and negative space in a light-filled enclosure beneath the staircase.
Further inland, family two-bedroom villas with full height opening from the entrance, creating dramatic scenes by framing the seascapes. Behind those are two rows of duplexes that guests enter via a landing between floors. Furthest from the sea, garden villa maintains privacy within an extra-large private pool, and spacious bathroom. Expression of light is interlaced into its interior by skylight and it is changing dramatically during the day.
Resting on granite rock hill, the architecture has been metaphorically sculpted in order to become one with nature. Local material like granite has been used for sculpting walls, defining spatial perception. These are also included stone masoning oversized bathtub and other decorative artisans, shaping a carving-like effect by either daylighting and artificial indirect lighting within interior space. Designing architecture as an art and craftsmanship, there are three main contributors. First, its interior space exhibits as an art gallery of wet-plate photography by Chardchakaj Waikawee (i.e., architecture, elements, food). Second, some decorative elements like hand sculpted woven bamboo lights are designed by Korakot Aromdee. And finally, sculpture of wash basins, vases and other artisans are contributed by the local stone sculptors from Angsila community.
Mason’s “something extra” may well include having a positive impact on its context. A dying breed, the stonemasons of Ang Sila need projects like this if their craft is to stand a chance of survival. As a matter of fact, their generation may well be the last. Thus, the collaboration between the project owner, the architect and the local artisans makes Mason not only a retreat resort but the architecture that helps local people and their community to have the new opportunities in their lives and careers.
Vaslab is a design oriented firm based in Bangkok, presenting expertise in architecture, interior design, and urban design. The studio, led by Vasu Virajsilp, creates an architecture by injecting the innovative and experimental ideas to construct the new order of sustainable architecture contextually, which has been recognized with the 2019 German Design Awards, 2014 and 2018 winner of International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum, the 2014 Iconic Awards by The German Design Council, the 2018 The Plan Awards (Finalist), the 2009, 2013, and 2014 World Architecture Festival Awards (Finalists), as well as having participated as judges at the World Architecture Festival in October 2012 and 2014.
This architecture laboratory is a diverse team, consisted of outstanding young, multicultural designers and dedicated exclusively to multi-scale projects in Thailand and internationally such as Mason, Casa de La Flora, 72 Courtyard, Honda BigWing, LIT Hotel and Bunker House.