I-Jin Chew: A Vibrant and Dynamic Hotel


I-Jin Chew is an architect and the managing director for WATG’s Singapore office. She believes that the best designs are realised when the developer, operator, architect and consultants are fully aligned with a shared vision. That was how AYANA Segara Bali was created.

I-Jin Chew

What were the initial design briefs from the property owner?

The brief entrusted to WATG was to review the master plan for AYANA Segara site, and to develop a different product to complement their suite of existing properties: a lifestyle hotel adjacent to the AYANA and Rimba Resorts comprising guest rooms, public spaces, all-day dining, a specialty restaurant, health and wellness club, indoor-outdoor pool and rooftop bar. The addition is envisioned to engage with the rest of the AYANA properties and fill a niche to create a vibrant, diverse and dynamic go-to destination on the map of Bali to attract repeat travellers.

How do you incorporate Balinese and/or local philosophy into the architecture design?
The natural Balinese landscape serves as a source of inspiration, as well as the backdrop. By way of extending the local landscape, the basis of the built form uses the concept of undulating Balinese paddy fields and its organic fluidity, elevating them and translating into a cohesive modern design. Whilst rectilinear buildings are common in Balinese compounds, we deliberately gave the guest wings and their surrounds a “twist” and sought to break away from the standard geometry of rectilinear buildings and courtyards.

What is your strategy to maximize the sea view rooms and/or other outlets?
To maximize the abundant sea views, we elevated the buildings significantly to overlook the existing AYANA Resort. Public areas were positioned on the lower levels. We also had to break the rigidity of a typical linear block which could only offer views in two directions with the incorporation of round courtyards. Rooms are then clustered around the communal courtyards, then reoriented to enable views in multiple directions, taking advantage of expansive views of Jimbaran Bay and the Indian Ocean.

Please share your approach to make Ayana Segara Bali into art-and-design-focused luxury lifestyle hotel
Our approach was to create a contemporary resort with a strong sense of place while delivering a unique spatial experience that stands out amidst the tropical resort archetype. For AYANA Segara Bali, we were conscious to hit a sweet spot to create an effortless style of luxury through our design that is very modern, infusing notions of art, culture and the abundance of nature into one melting pot.

What are the inputs from Ayana as the resort operator that you elaborate into your design?
As we were the architects for AYANA Komodo resort – the first five- star resort on Flores Island in Indonesia, our collaborative spirit with AYANA is established. AYANA came with a clear understanding of the market, and had formulated their vision of how the latest addition should complement what exists. The design was influenced and guided by this clarity; we value-added in offering our design solutions and problem solved with the objective of maximizing ROI and delivering long term value.

What aspects do you think you have succeeded well? And which areas could have been better?
We succeeded in reinterpreting Balinese tradition through our contemporary lens to create a hotel that has a welcoming familiarity yet is fresh. Honestly, we had an exceptional client team. The property owner, developer and operator know the market and its requirements very well; we can’t think of any areas that we could do better now.

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Indonesia Design Dev
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