In celebration of our 1-Year Anniversary this month, I am pleased to share with you a collection of exclusive interviews from our core design and development team members. Each was interviewed on their experience of The Making of Fivelements Hong Kong just before we opened. Nearly all of the six team leaders worked with us from the beginning for Fivelements Bali and all share their insights, their challenges and their personal stories of taking Fivelements from a successful destination retreat in the wild jungle of Bali to the outskirts of Asia’s most prized city, Hong Kong.
We hope you enjoy this wonderful collection of interviews, and we look forward to supporting you toward greater happiness, wellbeing and inspiration in 2018 and beyond!
With heartfelt gratitude,
Lahra Tatriele, Co-founder & Vision Director, Fivelements
This was our mission as we set out to explore the well-known Chinese thread in the fabric of Balinese culture.
Throughout Bali, artists, scholars, royal palaces and local villagers talk of an enduring and historic Chinese influence to be found in their arts, architecture and design orientation, dance, medicinal herbs, cuisine, trade history and aspects of ceremony. And even in their genes.
To Fivelements, the invitation to be part of a project in Hong Kong, was the closing of an ancient and important circle representing Balinese culture in the ‘Middle Kingdom.’ It was picking up threads of a rich exchange of trade and culture going back two millennia.
There is poetry, symmetry and continuity in this large cycle of time expressing itself in a new set of linkages.
What was it like being a part of the making of Fivelements Hong Kong?
I’ve never really thought of myself being part of the making of Fivelements. I give all credit for that to Chicco and Lahra and their team. But what I have become is part of the on-going evolution, the creative vision, the deep foundation for the future.
What motivated me to be part of the on-going process of evolution, of deepening some aspects and expanding others, was a sense that Fivelements is the real deal. It’s not about luxury, although it is a luxury experience in a rustic way. It’s not about spa. It’s not even really about destination per se, although it is a gorgeous gem of a destination. It’s really about a deep connection with the innermost dimensions of oneself. It is finding those, and connecting with those deep aspects and enlivening them, that brings about transformation.
Michael, Wellness Curator:
“Bali invites you to be healthy; Hong Kong dares you to be healthy”
What is your role?
Wellness Curator is quite a varied role, which makes it interesting. Like an art curator I’m helping to decide some of themes for our offering, as well as setting up the Sacred Arts program and selecting the artists with the co-founders, Lahra and Chicco. And most importantly perhaps, I’m helping to set the right intention and create the whole spirit of the place.
One of the ways we do this is by teaching yoga in the morning and meditation in the afternoon to the staff. It’s important as it ensures they are feeling healthy and fresh, and there’s an alignment and harmony between them, which translates into how we work together and how we work with guests. If the staff are thriving, the business will thrive.
“Bali, reinvented for Hong Kong”
Bali meets Hong Kong
In 2010 when I arrived in Bali, I was looking for a new opportunity and I was lucky to find it. Lahra and Chicco had just finished building Fivelements when my husband and I had lunch at Sakti Dining Room. We met Chicco who told us about the concept of Fivelements and his ideas on how to develop the Wellness Retreat.
I realized that I arrived at the right time. I had the opportunity to open the doors of Fivelements Wellness Retreat after collaborating closely with Lahra and Chicco and a wonderful team of truly dedicated Balinese therapists.
I felt truly honoured to be part of a team that was rewarded just a year after opening with the most wanted title “Destination Spa of the Year 2011” by AsiaSpa magazine!
Arnaud, Executive Chef
What is your role?
I am the Executive Chef and started in January 2016 to create and develop the menu for Fivelements first urban wellness retreat. This involved and extensive process to bring the award-winning Sakti Dining Room TM concept from Bali to HK with a new expression.
Ketut, architect and interior designer, focusing on creating a calm, friendly, spiritual – and surprising – space
What do you think Hong Kongers will respond to the most?
The idea here is to bring something different that no one else has done in Hong Kong. Sometimes architecture and interior design is about following trends or looking classic, but we have brought a concept that is similar to what we have created in Bali and which is aligned with our Fivelements’ holistic integrative concept.
I especially like the fact you cannot predict what is inside by looking at the outside. Even though the building from the outside has a very international look, once you enter inside we want you to be surprised. All our rooms are different. And not only different but we have tried to bring to the space a spiritual feel using unusual materials in an unusual way. We have chosen the various stone, for example, and the bamboo, to bring nature inside. You jump from a cityscape to a tropical interior.
Upstairs in the Yoga Room, the curving ceiling is one of the ways we have tried to surprise people. The building on the outside is very regular so inside we are avoiding any square structure – one of Lahra’s requirements for wellness design. We want to give people space to move around without barriers and in the Yoga Room every angle has a different feel. Every time you walk in here the space is so inspirational you really feel great.