Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Bali's spectacular bamboo village sets new heights for barefoot luxury

By Dean Irvine, CNN
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
Tucked away in the depths of Bali's lush jungle lies one the of the island's most remarkable settlements -- the Green Village. Tucked away in the depths of Bali's lush jungle lies one the of the island's most remarkable settlements -- the Green Village.
HIDE CAPTION
Hidden treasure
Bali's luxury bamboo villas
Sustainability in style
No ordinary hut
Shrouded by shrubs
Surrounded by nature
Sheltered from the storm
Clever positioning
Redefining bamboo
Mystical pathways
Mystical pathways
Soaring heights
Sweet choices
Bali's luxury bamboo villas
Sweeping space
Bali's luxury bamboo villas
Building for the future
Sourcing locally
Bamboo blueprints
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bali's Green Village sets a precedent for high-end design and sustainable architecture
  • Locally sourced bamboo used to create million dollar luxury villas
  • Project aims to change mindsets and push boundaries of design and architecture

Bali, Indonesia (CNN) -- Nestled among the lush forests of Bali, near the hill town of Ubud, is one of the island's most remarkable villages.

It's not just that each of the 18 homes of Green Village is constructed almost entirely from bamboo, but the form they take.

From vast spiral staircases to a river-spanning bridge leading to the door of the newest house, the designs are more akin to luxury mansions than jungle huts.

The exclusive abodes are part of creative director Elora Hardy's masterplan for sustainable, luxury living. As the daughter of John Hardy -- who set up Bali's Green School to educate a new generation of environmentally responsible students -- she and her team of designers and architects are also committed to changing common perceptions of what sustainability means.

"The first step (for us) is to create sustainable luxury living and different a mindset," says Green Village architect Defit Wijaya.

Read more: Why emeralds make some of us mad with desire

Centered around a communal area but separated by discreet gardens, the villas are open to the elements adding to each of the homes' sense of space and light and affording some beautiful views of the surrounding forests and rushing Ayung river below.

It is pure architecture to breath fresh air and touch nature.
Defit Wijaya, architect, Green Village

While some families live in the village, some homes are luxury retreats and can cost between $500,000 and $2million.

The latest and largest structure lies on the other side of the river with its five stories towering above the forest canopy. Lucky guests traverse a glass and bamboo bridge to reach the villa's front door, itself a revolving glass oval.

Clever design and roll-down shutters help protect those inside from rainstorms, while banana paper for interior walls and some aluminum for roofing are generally the only concessions to non-bamboo materials. Simplicity then is a key design element but it hasn't restricted some non-organic basics, with electricity and high-end kitchen fittings standard throughout the buildings.

Wijaya's next project is to build a house with a 15-meter roof span -- twice as big as the largest so far -- and without any central columns.

Read more: Beauty from the crypt - mystery of Europe's jeweled skeletons

"This is the future. It's pure architecture...to breathe fresh air and touch nature, that's everything."

Much like any other house anywhere, some running repairs have to be made on small non-structural pieces of the homes. But the largest structural bamboo logs could last a lifetime, says Mokoho Sumerta, the chief builder from the nearby bamboo factory.

"We treat each piece of bamboo with a mixture of water and boric acid to stop fungus and insects. Before doing this a bamboo structure would last only seven years, now we're not sure how long a building can last."

Around 200 farmers across the island are paid to grow bamboo on areas of their land not used for agriculture. Some of the largest logs are 25 meters long but only take 3 years to grow.

The angle of the main structural logs is also important to minimize the impact of direct sun and rain, which can weaken them.

But the magnificent designs show another side of bamboo that those connected to the project, like Operational Director Patrick How, hope will be a greater legacy.

"Many people still think bamboo is cheap and only for small buildings, but we're showing it can be used to make high houses and really redefine how the material is used."

Read: The psychology of curvy architecture

Read more: High art meets the high-street at neon-lit Miami Beach

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Style
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
Saatchi Gallery has teamed up with Google+ for the Motion Photography Prize, the world's first award for artists working with animated GIFs.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
iReporters from across the world share photos of 27 fascinating libraries.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
CNN was on the ground at Salone Internazionale del Mobile, bringing you reports on the latest designs as well as the most exclusive parties.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
From the British Museum to the Louvre, the world's leading museums are adding outlandish new wings designed by the world's top architects.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)
The secret lives of male to female Mongolians are exposed in haunting new images.
April 7, 2014 -- Updated 1242 GMT (2042 HKT)
Redditor Shystone imposed old paintings over Google Street View photos to create a series of stunning composite images of London then and now.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1542 GMT (2342 HKT)
Korean artist transforms her tiny studio into fantasy worlds without the aid of Photoshop.
April 1, 2014 -- Updated 0842 GMT (1642 HKT)
CNN spoke to industry experts who shared advice on how to avoid the pitfalls, and make the right decision.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
Roulette table, chandelier, Louis Vuitton cushions -- Japanese truck drivers spending big to decorate their wheels.
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Shigeru Ban, the winner of the world's most prestigious architecture award, has been using his skill to help people in disaster zones for decades.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Need to hide from the world? Do it in luxury.
March 20, 2014 -- Updated 1755 GMT (0155 HKT)
A $14,000 jumble sale find turned into millions of dollars for a man who wanted to sell it to scrap metal dealers.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 0405 GMT (1205 HKT)
In another display of the city's commitment to 24-hour culture, Seoul has unveiled its biggest nighttime attraction yet, in a neon-studded shopping district.
March 20, 2014 -- Updated 1556 GMT (2356 HKT)
From Zaha Hadid to Mario Bellini, take a tour inside the private houses of some of the globe's most celebrated architects.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
South African artist Ralph Ziman worked with local artisans to create ominously beautiful beaded mock bullets and AK-47s.
ADVERTISEMENT