Kudadoo and the Luxury of Minimalist Principles


Just opened its doors last December, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island is just 40 minutes away by seaplane from Male International Airport. Located in Lhaviyani Atoll, the island private resort is the latest brainchild of Lars Petre and Mats Petre, owners of Crown and Champa Resorts, the parent company that manages Kudadoo and nine other resorts including the renowned Hurawalhi Maldives.

With Yuji Yamazaki as the architect, the Petres developed Kudadoo, which is surrounded by a beautiful lagoon and long stretches of white sandy beach. Yamazaki did a fantastic job on the design that combines minimalism and contemporary luxury. The design creates stunning impression on the entirety of the architecture. All 15 villas are connected by a ring that mimics a microcosm of the Maldivian atolls. It’s an amazing view indeed!

Design-wise, Yamazaki brings the luxury of minimalism principles into a very contemporary result. Exploring the interior, you can see the beauty in simplicity from the arrangement of quality fixtures. With its limitation of land, Yamazaki was able to create large private space in each villa, with 13 one-bedroom Ocean Residences and 2 two-bedroom Ocean Residences measuring 300 sqm and 380 sqm respectively.

The luxury of minimalism also appears from the cedar wood for the building exterior and teak for the furniture. The monochromatic of the wooden element, thatched roof and white interior creates a soothing juxtaposition with the surrounding turquoise blue sea.

In each residence, aside from a dedicated butler to pamper your needs, you can find some of the largest private sundecks in the Maldives. The sundecks are all equipped with 44 sqm terrace pool and in-villa baths. In addition, the state-of-the-art technology such as Bang & Olufsen audio systems and IPTV (including Netflix and Spotify) are there to give you the modern comfort.

One of the most stunning piece-de-resistance design feature and also the island’s hub is The Retreat—a two-storey over water building that provides indulgent guest experiences in an expansive environment. The Retreat features an air-conditioned restaurant, bar, games room, and meeting rooms as well as the Sulha Spa, encompassing treatment rooms, a Himalayan salt room, steam room, sauna and a nail bar, as well as an expansive infinity pool and sundeck.

Again, Yamazaki shows his greatness in design by creating this 21-metre high building, with sloped roof grates that allow bright Equatorial sunlight into a comfortable dappled glow underneath and, even more significantly, to generate electricity. This 2,200 sqm main building is built with a photovoltaic roof that can generate enough electricity to operate the entire island, making this resort to have its own sustainability. The resort’s sustainability extends into various elements, from the solar panel to the eco-friendly straws, to amenities and glass-bottled water. Every element has been considered in an effort to minimise the resort’s eco-footprint.

Discussing Kudadoo Design with Yuji Yamazaki

Yuji Yamazaki is a licensed architect in New York State and principal of YYA based in New York City. Prior to establishing YYA, Yamazaki served as a senior associate at Janson Goldstein and created projects for Giorgio Armani, W Hotel, Calvin Klein and Saks Fifth Avenue. His portfolio also includes other renowned projects such as Roma Termini Station, Murano Glass exhibition, JFK airport terminal 8, Millennium Message art installation for Smithsonian Institution, train interior design for Fiat, and streetscape design for New York City.

YA’s first project in the Maldives was in the North Malé Atoll which has been awarded “Best Beach Hotel” by the International Hotel & Property Award, and awarded “Best Beach Resort” by Interior Design magazine, the largest interior design publication in the US. Yamazaki attended School of Visual Arts and Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. He holds Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design, and a Master of Science degree from Columbia University in Landscape Design.

iD: After working on Hurawalhi in the past, what kind of concept and design approach that you bring to create Kudadoo?

YY: Hurawalhi was our first project in Lhaviyani Atoll, and it was my first time to arrive at any resort in a seaplane. It was an exciting moment when the plane started descending and I viewed the island below. Most of the resorts in the Maldives can be accessed by seaplane. It is unique to this journey that you first discover everything from the sky, which gives the visitors a stunning first impression of the architecture on the island. So I intended that the shape of Kudadoo buildings to form a simple, and cohesive representation of what Kudadoo Private Island would be about.

iD: As a destination, Maldives is known for its numerous luxury resorts with above the water or even in the water design concept. What kind of originality that you bring to make Kudadoo stand out and different from the others?

YY: Often, many important aspects of design are neglected in search for “originality”. Our focus was to analyse the project contextually and reflect the local climate and conditions at the current time. The Maldives has the equatorial solar exposure. We quickly learnt that our 2,200 sqm building with a photovoltaic roof could generate enough electricity to operate the entire island. At the same time, it houses most of the required functions below. In our view, those detected elements during the design process guided us to create something that’s correct, consistent, understandable and might be original.

iD: What is the biggest challenge in creating this new resort?

YY: The biggest challenge was to create the luxury on a small island. Having visited the Maldives numerous times, we started to realise that the luxury on a small island comes from having large private spaces and its climate comfort. So we made sure that every room has those elements despite being built on a confined land space.

iD: We have seen the extensive use of wooden element around Kudadoo. What kind of woods that you use and any reason to use it as your main material element?

YY: The selection of materials is always an elimination process for us. We considered every material possible in the beginning. By eliminating those possible options, we reached most cohesive, reasonable and workable materials. In this project, considering the exposure to saline climate and possible vibration by the wind, wood became the main material of the project – mainly cedar for the building exterior, and teak for furniture.

iD: What about the design that relates to the surrounding environment? Did you create a similar green-friendly approach like what you had done for Hurawalhi?

The island is home to beautiful beaches, littoral plantings, coconut groves and interior forests. We kept the native plant palette such as Sea Lettuce, Iron Wood, Coconut Palm, Beach Hibiscus and Screwpine. When you have such beautiful and unique sites, you want to just preserve them. We kept the new construction on the island to a minimum. There is an ecosystem of the bird migration attached to existing nature in the country, and it was our crucial mission to protect the ecosystem by not changing plant structures.

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Erza S.T.
Erza has pursued his great passion for opera and classical music for over a decade. His brainchild, the Indonesia Opera Society, has produced many classical music concerts and operas, and recently marked its 10th anniversary with a gala production. He is also a journalism lover focusing on luxury, lifestyle and travel stories, which he files from datelines around the globe.

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