5 September, 2019 | The new Cheetah Plains Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, designed by ARRCC, reinvents traditional safari‐style architecture to create an altogether new safari experience of nature from within.
Combining state‐of‐the‐art sustainable architecture with a pioneering aesthetic, Cheetah Plains contrasts confident contemporary inorganic forms with the natural landscape, creating something quite beautiful.
The lodge accommodation is split into three separate, private components referred to as the Plains Houses. The Plains Houses are made up of clusters of free-standing buildings carefully arranged to accommodate existing natural features such as trees and views, and minmise intrusion into the landscape. Over time, nature will further soften and absorb the sculptural masses into their environment.
Each Plains House has a private arrival courtyard with covered canopy, an expansive open‐plan lounge, dining and bar space with adjoining air‐conditioned wine room and a private family/media room. These communal living spaces are each surrounded by four standalone bedroom suites, almost large enough to be considered mini‐lodges.
While off‐shutter concrete provides straight lines, the creative use of raw materials grounds the design in the landscape and allows the purity of the architectural forms to flow seamlessly from outside to inside. Feature walls built with hand packed‐raw Mica, naturally rusting Corten steel and timber elements introduce warmth and earthy, raw textures. The honest expression of these materials, selected to age and weather naturally over time, lends the design integrity and a sense of natural transformation and growth.
“The idea was always to redefine luxury and usher in a new language of African design for safari. The result is interiors that are at once uniquely African, yet undeniably modern with natural finishes and sophisticated detailing,” says Mark Rielly, ARCC’s director of interior design.
The project gently pushes the discourse of game lodge architecture freeing it from the clichés and themes too often prevalent in their design.