The best archetypes of resorts are where Nature has home. In the forests, beside trees, beside gods. Where the sacred intimacy with Nature, with ourselves, caresses our soul, and becoming our breath it brings us back to the ancestral harmonies.
The Irish Lesson
The first resort I built was in Ireland, upon a 300 years-old ash of my friend Paddy Fogarty, in the village Ballinderry, near Lake Derg, Tipperary County. To be precise, it was not a real resort as commonly considered, but just a terrace, built using waste timber from a building site where I was working for the architect Antony John Murphy of Thurles. But, upon that majestic tree, at four meters above the ground level, the sunset was different, the landscape was different, and the effect was exactly the experience of a resort. Intimacy with the tree and the surrounding forest.
Every night I was there, for months, and after a couple of weeks I was in company. A couple of giant crows started to stay with me, without being scared. The intimacy was over me and the tree, now it was also with the birds.
A couple of days before my departure, for returning to Italy, Paddy reaches me at the ash and he says "Thomas, I was intentioned to cut down the ash for money, it has a really good timber, but now I can't do it anymore... your terrace has enriched the story of my woods, pricelessly... I will keep it as monument to our friendship".
Honestly, it was not a special project, just an experiment for fun, but it was the lesson I needed for learning the real meaning of resort. Not just a secluted place, but architecture that makes possible an intimate dialogue with Nature.
After the Irish experience, I started to design and build treehouses with the Scottish Treehouse Company by John Harris, and later by myself, for luxury clients such as Prince Alexander von Liechtenstein and Princess Astrid Kohl, Prince and Duke Sigieri Diaz Della Vittoria Pallavicini, and the prestigious family Beretta of the Beretta's fire-arms industries. But every new project, small or luxury it was, the Irish lesson was always my guide, and still it is.