SOMA is a New York-based architectural firm formed in 2004 and has experience in renovation and sustainability. SOMA’s projects—primarily located in New York City, Dubai, Qatar, Erbil, and Lebanon—span various industries, with special offers of luxury residential, hotel, condominium, and mixed-use buildings, demonstrating the firm’s cutting-edge appeal. SOMA frequently employs patterns that appear to self-organize and evolve in response to the site’s intended and unintended future usage. 

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Thanks to its focus on merging craft, digital technologies, and environmental responsibility, the firm’s ideas and work have received critical recognition for its boundary-pushing nature. SOMA works closely with clients to fully comprehend their requirements and ambitions with external restrictions in today’s ever-changing cycle of occupancy and usage of buildings. Michel Abboud is the founding principal of SOMA Architects, who is a New York-based architect and artist.

SOMA has worked on various architectural projects in Lebanon. One of its proposed real estate and hospitality projects is the Nikki Beach Resort, located in Damour, Lebanon. The resort was launched on 27/6/2012 and was scheduled to open in 2014; the project was aborted. Michel Abboud and Leo Sguera were the principal and partner architects, and the interior design was done by one of the most famous designers Gregory Gatserlia. 

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The Nikki Beach chain of Resorts is a vibrant, stylish, and fun brand with a culture of celebrating life. The project would have been a new benchmark of excellence for luxury lifestyle boutique hotels that would help the Lebanese economy.

The property is located at the Damour River’s terminus, a rural and coastal part of Lebanon. It has a gently sloping terrain with amazing views of the Mediterranean and the river. Damour is a coastal city in Lebanon, 24 kilometres south of Beirut, situated between Beirut and Saida, and is distinguished by a still-preserved rural plain and a compacted urban centre. 

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Damour’s coastal plain, which lies between the highway and the sea, covers over 1,950,000 square meters, with bananas accounting for roughly 70% of the land. The plan for this project considers the cultural history of the area, making this place cheerful and serene.

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The resort covers a built-up area of 14,000 sq.m, spreading over a land area of 42,000 sq.m . 45 villas, a boutique hotel, and a signature Nikki Beach Club with sizes of 105, 125, and 155 sq.m, a boutique hotel, a 5-star resort, spa, swimming pools, restaurants, water sports, fitness centre, and other related facilities. It began as a simple two-dimensional system that grew into a complex matrix that directs the design process at all scales. It fits perfectly according to size and aesthetically.

The various combinations of the three fundamental box-like volumes produce equally unique and different houses. Despite the association of these other pieces and their many varieties gives the entire evolution a united and coherent ensemble. The plan looks like a tree with branches near the sea, giving the space an oasis kind of a feel. Each “branch” provides direct pedestrian and vehicular access to the street. 

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Nikki Beach Resort by SOMA: A Sophisticated Matrix - Sheet5
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The result is a set of individually cut and constructed elements, maximizing each component’s visibility, daylight, and ventilation and making it naturally fit the site. The private suites are provided with their own deck space to make the customers feel at home, giving them more privacy and room to move around. There are 8 pools supplied on the site for leisure activities giving every block a separate collection for themselves. 

The site is surrounded by the lush green cover, including local trees and other native plant life of that area, giving this space a Tropical and modernistic look and complementing the climate of Lebanon. This would positively affect that area’s economy and tourism, providing more jobs and opportunities to highlight Lebanese culture.

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The goal was to express to the client and prospective buyers the almost obsessive-compulsive efforts that the team has put into constructing customized residences for each resident instead of several dwelling projects in the area. Although the designers tried to keep the variances in the townhouses and chalets under control by designing eight varieties, the combination of those types always results in different experiences, outdoor areas, accessibility, and views to each dwelling, making the structure blend with the surroundings perfectly. 

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This project highlights the signature style of SOMA, making this project one of their standout proposals.

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SOMA architects are known for their creative and modernistic approach to designs, and this can be clearly seen in their proposal for this resort. This resort would host significant events and parties, which Lebanon is known for. This project is one of their most fascinating project proposals, capturing Lebanon’s natural beauty and the essence of the culture while creating spaces for luxury living and complementing the mantra of Nikki Beach, which is “Celebrating Life.” What do you think about this design by SOMA?

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References

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www.zawya.com. (n.d.). Nikki Beach Resort Project – Details on ZAWYA MENA Edition. [online] Available at: https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/project/300113125831/nikki-beach-resort-project/ [Accessed 1 Jul. 2021].

Boutique Hotel News. (2019). Nikki Beach to open boutique hotel in Lebanon. [online] Available at: https://boutiquehotelnews.com/news/industry/nikki-beach-to-open-boutique-hotel-in-lebanon/ [Accessed 1 Jul. 2021].

SOMA. (2010). Architizer. [online] 19 Jan. Available at: https://architizer.com/firms/soma/ [Accessed 1 Jul. 2021].

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Nikki Beach. (n.d.). Nikki Beach – Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants & Beach Clubs. [online] Available at: https://nikkibeach.com/ [Accessed 1 Jul. 2021].

Archello. (n.d.). Projects by SOMA architects. [online] Available at: https://archello.com/brand/soma-architects/projects?type=commercial&sort=-featured [Accessed 1 Jul. 2021].

Author

Currently, an undergraduate architecture student Khushi is a keen reader and an amateur video creator, making her way through life with creativity and her passion for learning new things. She believes that there is an artist in everyone, it is just a matter of exploring oneself.

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