in the south-west corner of japan’s domain sits the little island of amami ōshima. it is often missed by most geography classes and remains a rare part of the world forgotten by industry. rich in forests, greenery covers the hills that rise up out of the beautiful beaches and coral reefs.
‘nest’ is a resort designed by atelier tekuto at amami beach. its villas are located between the sea and the sky, where travelers can experience complete liberation. it’s a place where the purity of nature is combined with a touch of japanese luxury.
yasuhiro yamashita, head architect at atelier tekuto, was actually raised on the island, giving him a rich understanding of its unique context. the architect views amami as a place of ‘in between’. hotly contested since the samurai days, the island has seen many great battles and has changed flags many times until it was finally returned to japan after WWII in 1953. the island has a unique and fascinating culture, and one that has remained strong and distinct despite its tumultuous past.
for yamashita, this resort had become more than just a commission, it was a chance to do something profound. after receiving the brief, he immersed himself in research to work on a bespoke solution for this island. he sought to create a design that would respond to history, that could remain in between the past and future. ‘designing the in-betweens is by no means a negative mindset,’ says yasuhiro yamashita. ‘I regard this concept as a new way of making progress through defining one’s own standpoint, learning from history, breaking the status quo, and to take control of one’s own future.’
yasuhiro yamashita traveled back to amami, where he personally selected the perfect the site — in between the sky and the sea. he began his search in march 2015, traveling all over the island. he found the ideal location right on the water under the forest. the construction began in august of 2016 and was completed in november 2017. the hotel comprises a range of 14 buildings: the hotel reception and restaurant; three luxury pool villas — with black tile façades; and ten semi-detached villas.
yamashita, with the help of the structural engineer, developed a material for architecture unique to amami. the pool villas were created with inspiration from traditional raised-floor granaries, local hip-and-gable roofed houses, and conch-shells found in amami.