This week we visited the little known architectural wonder that is Tai O fishing village in Hong Kong. A fishing village built entirely on stilts, visited mainly buy tourists wanting to purchase dried fish and eat local snacks. But look a little further, delve into the back streets and you will find a community that has built (and is still building) an entire village on stilts in the inlet of the South China sea. Here is our photo diary of a quiet Sunday spent exploring the structures that seem to defy gravity, and watching the villagers build new structures and maintain the old houses.
Part of me feels like I shouldn’t post this….. I want to keep it a secret so it stays quiet, calm and unspoilt forever. But it is too beautiful not to share, you are in for a treat!
Earlier this month Eclectic East took a mini break to crosswaters ecolodge. Nestled amid swaying bamboo forests in the valleys of the Nankunshan Mountain Reserve in Guandong province, it is so far removed from the hustle, bustle and pollution of urban China, it was easy to forget that it was only a few hours drive from Hong Kong. Designed by EDSA, the architecture considers local materials and the flowing landscape whilst still creating structures and spaces that feel contemporary and avant garde. The scheme was constructed using local and recycled materials that were all on the site. Bamboo is something that you get used to seeing in construction when you live in Asia but this lodge is exceptional, the use of bamboo brings together traditional materials with striking design which beautifully and simply expresses the structural elements of it’s form.
Windows that fully opened up to the cool forest outside brought in the wonderful mountain air, traditional bamboo screening the use of reflective pools are all designed to create a resort that feels contemporary in a way that doesn’t intrude on the landscape around it.
So what did Mr and Mrs Eclectic East do all weekend other than admire the wonderful architecture? Well… firstly we ate very well indeed! All the food in the resort is locally sourced so mountain frog (yes really!) and river fish are specialities of the lodge – very tasty indeed! Not surprisingly bamboo is also on the menu which is delicious and very good for your health apparently. Whilst we weren’t eating we enjoyed swimming in the natural swimming pool in the river, hiking in the surrounding hills, yogaing on our balcony overlooking the river and simply enjoying the swaying bamboo trees and imagining we were in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
When the sun went down and we had eaten too many frogs and drunk some very bad wine (suggest taking your own if you visit!) we climbed the resort’s very own star gazing tower and were dazzled by the beautiful twinkly sky and thought how lucky we were to have found this little bit of paradise in the mountains.
I think the answer to this question is yes….it is east of somewhere. But it just happened to be a westwards trip for me! I have fallen in love! Such a magical place that is a true assault on every sense in the most wonderful way. I was on a work trip meeting new suppliers. India is a textile designers idea of heaven. I feel so inspired I don’t know where to start
We were so lucky to see the Taj with this incredible stormy sky behind – it was magnificent. Apparently the Taj Mahal might only be open to the public for another five years due to pollution and to protect the monument, so get there whilst you can – it is well worth the early wake up call. The patterns in the marble wouldn’t look out of place in a contemporary textile pattern. Timeless.
Colour, ornament and pattern seemed to cover every possible object. The tastes and smells were amazing too. Food and design posts coming later but for now here is some textile porn to make your heart sing. Oh! if only I had taken a bigger suitcase to bring it all home.