In a renowned holiday destination where boutique hotels are aplenty, how does one stand out from the rest? Best described as a “contemporary island stay”, The Slow is charming guests with it’s modern lifestyle concept and “Tropical Brutalist” aesthetic and design, all-day dining and emphasis on art, fashion and music located just 300 metres from Canggu Beach.
With a contemporary and unassuming sense of luxury, Australian co-owners Cisco and George Gorrow ensured a balance of modern and traditional Indonesian elements at The Slow, both in materials used and the organic interior and atmosphere. It was a destination that both owners had dreamed to create, as George explains, “My wife and I fell in love here and got married here 9 years ago. It was kind of inevitable for us that we would end up here one day.”
The architectural structure and interior design was envisioned by co-owner George Gorrow in partnership with local architect Rieky Sunur from GFAB Architects, a Bali-based architectural practice specialising in luxury villas and holiday resorts. An emphasis was made to incorporate local, raw materials such as stone, wood and metals, resulting in a stark yet ultimately modern and welcoming space. Selected materials reflect the diversity of textures featured, including native and sustainable wood, local stone, wood veneer panels and natural sand mixed tiles juxtaposed with raw and polished concrete. Due to proximity and availability, the majority of furniture and natural textiles were produced by local artisans, complementing custom pieces made by the owners’ friends.
It’s clear to see where the design takes inspiration from. George explains, “brutalist architecture, tropical minimalism and even Brazilian architecture were strong inspirations for us. Including references to Japanese furniture designer George Nakashima, Japanese architect Tadao Ando, and artists Brett Wadden, Rostarr and Richard Serra. It has allowed us to encompass all aspects of our previous passions, and careers, giving us the freedom to collide all these aspects harmoniously and to work as one entity.”
With architect Rieky’s local knowledge, the design incorporates elements from traditional Balinese houses (in response to the climate and humidity) with an abundance of plants, wooden features and perforated partitions and vertical screens, yet reflects a modern presence with voided space and inverted gardens. The finer details in the textiles selected for the furnishings were also closely curated with a variety of “natural linen canvas, cheese cloth, vintage fabrics, teak screens, power coated metal and blacked mahogany furnishings. Including cow leather on the sling chairs and used military tent for the upholstery,” says George.
What sets The Slow apart from the rest is their ability to transform space with a clear identity, pairing traditional local elements with a classic take in their “tropical brutalist” design. George adds, “Our suites don’t have TV sets or desks. The project is designed with what we think is relevant to our generation, and to this constantly evolving island. Things shouldn’t just exist due to tradition, they need to make sense to also have a purpose to remain relevant.”
Photography by Benjamin Hosking