Jonathan Ashmore has made a name for himself, going from strength to strength after leaving the established Godwin Austen Johnson and founding Anarchitect in 2013 with an eye for superlative craft, detail, materiality and as the name implies – a hint of anarchy. It’s a unique architectural approach with races context, narrative and human behaviour to create exquisite spaces and experiences. Some of the Practice’s high profile projects in Dubai have included El Chiringuito Ibiza, and the Rossano Ferretti Hairspa, which won the Retail Design of the Year at the CID Awards 2017. But the Al Faya Lodge & Spa is shaping up to be one of the coolest, architectural juxtapositions for them.
“Desert conditions present extreme heat in summer with intense and prolonged sun exposure so it is important to consider these factors when first designing the form and mass of the building and secondly the selection of suitable and robust materials which go hand in hand,” – Jonathan Ashmore on designing the Al Faya Lodge & Spa
The Al Faya Lodge & Spa is The Retreat You Need When You Are in United Arab Emirates
With offices in Dubai and London, Anarchitect turned the century old building into a contemporary, minimalist lodge compromising of only 5 rooms, creating a quaint setting for guests with a single-storey stone building situated at the heart of Sharjah Desert. The Al Faya Lodge & Spa has certainly come a long way since the building was originally a 1960s clinic and grocery store, next to the UAE’s first petroleum pumps.
Crafted with raw materials and earthy colours, the luxurious lodge was designed in classic Anarchist style – contextualised with its environment. “Desert conditions present extreme heat in summer with intense and prolonged sun exposure so it is important to consider these factors when first designing the form and mass of the building and secondly the selection of suitable and robust materials which go hand in hand,”explained Jonathan Ashmore, practice Principal.
Extreme sand storms, unexpected low-temperatures at night and rain is what one would experience in the desert. Al Faya’s concrete construction provides durability to the extreme environment, thanks to the polished concrete, granite and travertine used.
The 5-star accommodation compromises of a dining room, reception room, library and roof terrace. The 5 rooms offers skylight and a private roof terrace for star-gazing. The purpose-built spa building houses an open-air saltwater pool and three salt spa experiences; heat, water and salt inhalation. The restaurant and visitors’ reception are located on the other side of the property and comprise a dining room, outdoor terrace, fire-pit and a public roof terrace.
The boutique hotel is an addition to the Sharjah collection, alongside with Kingfisher Lodge on the Arabian Sea Coast and the Al Bada yer Oasis coming soon.