Behind the Scenes with Karl Princic
Karl Princic has over 30 years of experience in the planning and designing of resorts, residential and hospitality projects worldwide. After working for several international design companies, he founded Intaran Design Inc. in Bali in 1989. Born and raised in Southern California, he now commutes between Bali and California.
Can you please tell us about your projects in the US?
I have prepared large-scale site plans for a comprehensive marina and residential development for Huntington Beach, California; golf resort and residential developments in Texas and Hawaii; and a United States Fitness Academy in Laguna Beach, California. I have also prepared preliminary and final landscape architectural plans for residential projects in Riverside and Orange Counties in California.
What about your projects in Asia?
In Asia, we have been fortunate to work with most major international hotel and resort brands including Aman Resorts, Cheval Blanc, Mandarin Oriental, GHM, Rosewood, Anantara, Alila as well as Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood. We have worked in more than 15 countries and had the pleasure of designing some of the most highly rated, award winning properties in the world.
Among our current international resort projects, Intaran Design is involved in Park Hyatt resorts in Phu Quoc, Vietnam; Lihue Lake near Hangzhou, China; a Rosewood Resort in Hoi Anin Hoi An, Vietnam; and an Anantara Wellness Resort in Bangkok, Thailand.
What were the challenges you faced during the building of Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu?
Before starting the project, Morgane Monfort, design director of Intaran Design and I were aware that the site posed some significant challenges and opportunities in terms of views, topography, privacy and interface issues.
One of our biggest challenges was blending the architecture and interiors with the landscape. The success of integrating these three elements is the true test of any resort. Since our team controlled both the architecture and landscape simultaneously, we were able to make the integration more seamless.
Why did you choose human body as the initial design concept?
In traditional Balinese architecture, the size and proportion of a building is metaphorically related to the human body. Every building should have feet (foundation), body (living area or central space) and a head (roof).
As with humans, a beautiful building is well proportioned. The feet and legs are graceful and strong, the body is not too fat, not too slim and the head must rest comfortably on the shoulders. It is unthinkable in Balinese architecture that a building would be built without a roof or foundation. Likewise, it would be a mistake to place the body in an awkward or unstable position.
We adopted these simple and very Balinese design principles as the basis for our design. In this way, we have honoured Balinese tradition and our design is culturally authentic.
Since we’re talking about proportion, how do you determine the number of certain room types and their size for Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu?
This is largely determined by the Radisson Blu team. Based roughly on their technical brief, the initial master plan was conceptualised by Intaran and a suggestion of typical room bays and interior layouts were provided by MQ Studio. The package was coordinated with Radisson Blu and they determined the optimum accommodation ‘mix’ according to their standards, tailored specifically to the master plan we had designed. Their ‘wish list’ was then incorporated into the schematic design by the design team (architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and lighting design).
How about other facilities and areas, such as the lobby, restaurant, function rooms and spa?
The design of these facilities followed a similar process as the rooms. Our typical approach for any resort project is based on our knowledge and past experience of facility requirements.
Every hotel operator is a bit different so we started out by providing space allocations for the various facilities but this was adjusted according to specific operator requirements. For this project the spa consultant, the owner, the operator and the design team all had a hand in determining the character and menu of each F&B outlet.
Is this the first time you worked on a Radisson Blu property?
Yes, this is our first Radisson Blu property. We would like to think that Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu is one of the best Radisson Blu properties ever designed. We believe that we have ‘raised the bar’ in terms of attention to design detail and creating a sense of place while still being contemporary.
Can you elaborate how you’ve raised the bar for this project?
As the Radisson Hotel Group’s premium resort brand, the goal of each Radisson Blu property throughout the world is to have a strong sense of place. We wanted this Radisson Blu to be unique amongst all others. We believe that we have achieved this by providing a contemporary interpretation of Balinese style without being cliche. The site plan relates specifically to its surroundings in terms of climate, culture and aesthetics.
In Bali we are fortunate that there is such a strong cultural presence and that the climate is so conducive to indoor-outdoor living which is the very essence of a tropical resort experience. We believe that we have capitalised on these attributes and that future Radisson Blu properties will use the Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu as a benchmark.