Inside the new Bali villa where food and function reign.

Sustainable, private, incredibly user-friendly and brilliant food.

AZBcreative has created NoKu Beach House; a breathtaking private sanctuary in Bali. It has taken two years to realise the dream space, but this is just the first in a series of bespoke NoKu-house projects to be design-directed by global award winning interior design director Alex Zabotto- Bentley and his interior design and interior architecture team, AZBcreative.

The name NoKu, is a cheeky take on Soho and comes from “North of Kuta” in Seminyak, offering privacy and sweeping Indian Ocean views, as the only beach front villa in Seminyak.

“I was privileged to work with a client who trusted me to take their wishes and inspirations and turn them into something unique,” says Alex.

In turn, the owner has described Alex’s work as creating it’s own design language; “Any one in any medium that does something that is truly their own, transcends the box… Alex Zabotto-Bentley has done just that.”

NoKu Beach House is a six-bedroom statement of avant-garde Zen design, with a cool and calm aesthetic. “The client wanted the residence to be imbued with the natural beauty and spiritual grace of Bali, but with a modern, timeless design,” says Alex;

“My team and I created a mood reminiscent of the mythical Shangri-La in James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon”: exotic overhanging greenery creates an otherworldly indoor-outdoor experience at this tropical ‘Avatar movie’ oasis.” The result is a super-premium escape pad, designed without compromise.

Initially, the project was to be a private villa, but as the interior concepts and architectural designs developed, they realised the huge potential of the space. It needed to be shared. The land was extended and what resulted is a sweeping resort space with six double bedrooms, two pools, extended gigantic living and dining areas, all with the AZBcreative signature custom elements showcasing their dedication to small-run makers, local craftsmen and the culture of regional villages.

AZB has an absolute commitment to low-impact development, sustainable design practices and community involvement/empowerment through transparent supply chains where growers, makers, producers and artisans are all supported within the project.

Alex says “This is the future of development and design in Bali – the only way that it can be something which improves and strengthens the local community and culture.”
NoKu Beach House accommodates large groups without losing its sense of space and privacy, while the fusion of design and nature inspires creativity and renews the senses.

With state-of-the art kitchens, 2 x large swimming pools (one infinity, one plunge), event spaces for up to 300 people, 5 different dining areas and 25 staff including chef, concierge and driver, the NoKu Beach House is a very special destination villa. The aim was to create a luxurious experience with the relaxed atmosphere of this natural paradise.

“Think luxe island, Jurassic Park vibes… That is NoKu. Everything from the second you walk through the 3 metre bespoke entry door, it is nothing like you could ever imagine! Oversized. Major. Custom… Start to finish this project was next level and of course every tiny detail was considered and drawn and drawn again, rendered, re-rendered, sampled to perfection and finally dreams came to life.” Jaimi-Lee Wheelwright, Interior Designer AZBcreative

Alex and his team scoured all the globe, to draw inspiration from amazing journeys… a narrative that speaks of luxury and ease in a palette that elicits calm and deep relaxation

A colour palette of navy, celadon and turquoise to evoke the changing moods of the sea, were mixed with classic AZBItaliano and a new colour: AZBFirenze. The palette was used throughout the interiors and branding to unify the concept. The team travelled extensively for inspiration, as Alex explains: “For this project, our travels focused on Asia to search out antique and age-old elements, to build a story and a sense of place.”

Up-cycling and renewable resources were key, and Alex’s personal philosophy of respecting made craft from ancient to modern and reimaging it follows the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi, where ancient broken pottery is repaired with gold, creating a more beautiful object.

Alex says “I love the notion of respecting the original maker but transforming that piece into
an object of art adds value and elevates it.” This principle evolved this luxe space with low environmental impact, where humble crafts are elevated. A case in point: the team sourced a 150 year old ironwood pier from Borneo, worn by the sea, which was going to be demolished, and converted into an incredible two level balé, with private siting areas and a custom-built bar. From the island of Kalimantan, they sourced five exquisite six-meter high Patung Pagar protective statues, hand-carved in iron wood.

They now stand in the garden to protect the villa and evoke the history of these beautiful islands. Inside, the team blended modernism with a touch of brutalism and luxe nomad collectibles, from the pedestals crafted from 20 million year old petrified wood blocks to the Papua New Guinea drums re-purposed as side tables. The seamless blend of antique artifacts, rough-hewn textures and modern innovations evokes the rich cultural heritage of the region while remaining serene and timeless.

“It is always our dream to work closely with a client and create bespoke items for a project. This was that project. Working with artisan suppliers all over Indonesia we designed and created beautiful pieces that bring the villa spaces to life.

We re-purposed antique village drums into coffee tables, created hand woven silk fabric from villages in Kintamani, and hand carved teak panels into textured bed heads. The client loves soccer so one of my favourite pieces are the marine rope woven soccer nets that flip to become sun beds!” Jenni Munster, Style Producer AZBcreative

Natural light infuses the space, as unnecessary walls were removed, replaced with natural screens of hanging greenery and locally made eight metre long teak screens carved in geometric shapes, to add texture and dappled light. Throughout the house and gardens, there are around 30,000 plants, creating a unique green hideaway. Even by night, the lighting features set a relaxed mood. The team installed new collection AZBcustom lighting designs from the 1960’s brutalist Italian- inspired solid bronze fittings in the living and dining rooms, through to every single bedside lamp and outdoor lighting.

One of the key attractions of any private beach house is the pool, and NoKu Beach House has two. AZB created an oasis pool, inspired by the classic Moroccan Riads with their private, tiled pools.
In case you feel so relaxed that you forget where you are, some of the tiles spell out NOKU, like a classic 1930’s lido. The colour palette is carried through to the professional sized tennis court, which custom designed as an enormous camo pattern.

“Did someone say custom tennis court, that doubles as a soccer field! This is a one of a kind in the world, over 4000 hand painted tiles on a surface made up of 2 layers of high impact copolymer developed in the USA. The custom camouflage design on the playing surface was designed and created especially for NoKu. We took inspiration from urban community playing courts and graffiti from around the world and using our signature colours created an art piece in the grounds of the villa.” Peter Harley, Interior Designer AZBcreative

The team also created a second pool in the garden, stretching towards the sea, with lush plantings and teak decking. Throughout the vast villa, there are plenty of private spaces, from hidden lounge areas and private balconies to a walled garden, private spa and even a rooftop, open-air shower. Stroll the almost Jurassic gardens with a waterfall and towering palms and jungle blooms or gaze out to sea from your room with organic dishes and endless chilled drinks… even with a large group of friends, there are plenty of opportunities to chill out and enjoy some private time. The large variety of spaces are also perfectly suited to events.

In this age of branding and social media, it was important to communicate the laid-back luxury of the project. Artwork was sourced from internationally renowned photographers Woody Gooch and Damea Dorsey, and Matt Neville who have created unforgettable images of Bali and locally made objects were curated to embellish the living spaces. From the custom NoKu surfboards, tennis rackets and soccer balls to the plates and even the in-house radio station with curated playlists, there are many fun reminders of place.

NoKu Beach House launches September 2018 and as Alex says, “It is the new exclusive luxury for the global citizen.”

Jalan Sarinande No. 22, , Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Seminyak, Bali

INSTAGRAM @nokubeachhouse

By Melissa Hoyer

Photography by Marko Randelovic