In the Maldives, a bamboo restaurant looks like a stingray swimming in the ocean

Atelier Nomadic designed a bioclimatic structure using a renewable material to shape a sequence of columns and parabolic trusses. 

Hovering over the water of a tropical lagoon in the Maldives, the Yakitori Restaurant and Bar plays with the imagery of the sea monsters that populate the ocean depths from centuries of explorers' and sailors' tales.
The structure, designed by Dutch studio Atelier Nomadic and located by the Banyan Tree Vabinfaru resort, uses bamboo as its main material and seems to float above the ocean surface, ready to head out in open water. The architecture, named Madi Hiyaa, also takes its cue from the Dhivehi language, where Madi is “ray” and Hiyaa “shelter”, in a reference to the graceful stingrays migrating across the Indian Ocean. 

The undulating shapes of the “tail” lead guests to the centre, towards the “belly” of the architecture, in which a luxury Japanese restaurant is located. It is a bioclimatic structure, the renovation of an existing pier, with natural ventilation, a saltwater infinity pool and several catamaran nets on which guests can lie.

Atelier Nomadic
Atelier Nomadic, Overwater Bamboo Restaurant, Maldives, 2023

Central to the project is the use of bamboo, which shapes the sequence of columns and the hyperbolic paraboloid roof trusses. A renewable building material, bamboo is, in the words of the architects, “an extremely effective carbon reservoir, useful in steering us towards a future where buildings actually sequester carbon instead of expelling it”. 

Dendrocalamus Asper bamboo was chosen for the primary structure and Gigantochloa Apus for the grid filling, while wooden tiles were used for the undulating roof, evoking sea waves. 

Design team :
Olav Bruin, with Louis Thompson, Habiba Mukhtar

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