Travel BlogAugust 15, 2021

Finolhu Baa Atoll, Inspired by a Kaleidoscope — The Island Playground’s Design Journey

Amidst the glorious welcome by its personable staff, guests arriving at Finolhu will be greeted by a custom made two-metre tall kaleidoscope lens upon reaching the heart of the resort. It stands as a symbol of the resort’s new, colourful design concept with its relaunch in November 2020, and aligns perfectly with the childlike joy guests experience as they witness nature’s vibrant colours and forms that are reflected throughout Finolhu Baa Atoll.

Kaleidoscope – the core inspiration that sparked the resort brand’s collaboration with award-winning Muza Lab design studio in 2020, and led to its stylish transformation – was to spur the sense of wonder and immense delight evoked as one gazes through a kaleidoscope lens. The changing colours, patterns and textures represent the moments of joy and personal escapades to be had at the resort. While Finolhu has laid claim to becoming the first resort in the Maldives to be included in Design Hotels’ prestigious international portfolio, greater satisfaction has come from capturing the essence of the island playground’s barefoot-chic atmosphere as the perfect, indulgent hideaway for couples, friends and families to completely unwind.

We share insights to Finolhu’s redesign through this interview with Inge Moore, co-founder of Muza Lab.

How did the Kaleidoscope concept for Finolhu come about?

We see the island as if looking through a Kaleidoscope – the beautiful forms and vibrant colours that exist in nature across the island are presented through the images and reflections of the resort’s design. Imagine swimming underwater immersed in a world of bright colours, surrounded by exotic fish and coral, while sunrays dapple the water to create stunning refractions. These beautiful and simple patterns are replicated and projected onto the new vibrant look that we have created for Finolhu.

Apart from the colourful concept, what else was considered for the new design?

We wanted all the items to be handmade, while also being eco-friendly and sustainable. To achieve this, we used rustic materials like timber, natural rope, and glass. We work closely with a carefully selected team of global artisans who are all guided by the same environmental ethos in their design and creation processes.

Tell us more about the resort’s two-metre Kaleidoscope centrepiece.

The kaleidoscope lens really sets the tone, not only of the new colourful design concept but also of the playful nature of Finolhu. The lens is a handmade metal and glass installation designed by Muza Lab, and created by Turkish artisans.

What was the inspiration behind the design for the restaurants?

In each area, we carefully considered how we could bring out the vibrant colours and bold patterns of the design in a playful way. The Beach Club, for example, applies an amazing mosaic design on the bar stools and tops while the bar front also showcases Kaleidoscope patterns.

The ceramic tables feature playful colours, and the curated selection of furniture embodies relaxation and barefoot luxury, while also being practical and comfortable. The rainbow hues streaming through Beach Kitchen create a unique space styled with handmade custom tiles from Turkey. This wonderful hanging installation with all the colours of the Kaleidoscope, along with the bespoke furniture and soft furnishings crafted specially for the resort, enhances the design aesthetics while adding practical comfort and vibrance.

For Kanusan, the most formal restaurant of the resort, we wanted to create a space where you can dress up a little and sip an exotic cocktail while luxuriating in the resort’s stunning views. The concept was to bring the ocean and the Orient together with colourful origami sea creatures swimming in an installation of seashells; a bright coral orange was selected as the accent colour to set the tone for Kanusan’s Asian-inspired menu. The most striking feature of this air-conditioned restaurant is the glass box of the sushi counter.

The Arabian Grill is located beside All-Day Dining Beach Kitchen and offers Middle Eastern and North African specialities. The predominantly blue hue of the restaurant represents the living ocean. The idea is to create a multi-sensory dining experience where guests can enjoy the tantalising tastes, aromas and visual presentations of their food as they are lulled by the sounds of the gentle lapping waves on the nearby beach.

Crab Shack is a barefoot chic restaurant located far from the main island, near the Beach Bubble. It provides a unique toes-in-the-sand dining experience that transports diners into another world and time: they can feel the sand beneath their feet and a sea breeze on their faces while gazing out over the lagoon’s azure waters. It is the place to take in the spectacular Maldivian vista, and enjoy the very best of island life.

What’s the concept behind Fehi Spa?

Fehi is a local Dhivehi word that translates to ‘green’ in English. The spa is located in the midst of the island’s lush flora. We took the tropical jungle as our inspiration but combined it with a playful approach. The colourful tones are inspired by the island’s coral stones and sand to create a feeling of joy and serenity.

With the kaleidoscope concept artfully applied throughout the resort and in each villa category at Finolhu, guests are treated to the sunny magic of nature where they spend their days by the ocean and watch the colours unfold by the hour. Finolhu’s General Manager, Marc Reader sums it up: “To be at Finolhu is to live on the verge of two beautiful worlds – a marine fantasy and a magical island paradise; that’s why we call Finolhu our wonderland and a place of dreams.”

Explore this kaleidoscope of colours by clicking on www.finolhu.com to plan your tropical island getaway today.