Just under 14 years ago, Studio PCH embarked on a global journey to bring masterful architecture to hospitality hotspots around the world. It’s difficult to pick one standout from the California firm’s glimmering portfolio—it includes the Nobu Residences Los Cabos, a recording studio for Universal Music, and residences from the West Coast to Bora Bora. So it came as little surprise when, in 2022, the studio founded by Severine Tatangelo won a bid to refurbish Bermuda’s Ariel Sands resort. The project was hailed by local papers as a boon for the once-vibrant tourism hub that reportedly hosted the likes of John F. Kennedy, John Wayne and Princess Diana during its heyday.
“Historically, Bermuda was a sought-after destination for British and American tourists from post-World War II until the 90s,” Tatangelo tells Surface. “But its development had been hindered by the impact of powerful hurricanes, leaving many hotels and restaurants in a dated state.” That all stands to change in spring of 2025, when the property will throw open the doors to the intimate resort. A 33-key hotel, along with three villas and 30 condominiums, a restaurant, and a private beach will anchor the lavish retreat, whose revitalized landscape and coastal cool interiors are bringing the resort into the 21st century.
Here, we take a closer look.
Firm: Studio PCH
Practice Location: Venice, California
What was the vision behind the project?
Studio PCH was privileged to be selected as one of the designers entrusted with rediscovering and revitalizing the Island of Bermuda, aiming to align it with modern, contemporary, and high-end hospitality. The exciting prospect of upcoming developments promises to reinvigorate tourism on the island.
Our design approach was centered around creating a harmonious and serene atmosphere, capturing the essence of the beach while maintaining a refreshing and welcoming ambiance. We carefully considered the site’s slope and beachfront location, ensuring the design integrated seamlessly with the natural landscape. The design also took into account the orientation to the south sun and the wind, maximizing the enjoyment of the stunning ocean vistas. Our goal was to offer guests a tranquil, beachy retreat that exuded a sense of calm, celebrating the island’s beauty while ushering in a new era of contemporary allure.
What colors and materials are central to the visual identity?
A natural color palette: warm whites, wooden elements, beige tones, cane accents, and the use of natural textiles within the interiors. For durability and resilience against the island’s harsh weather conditions, engineered wood was chosen for louver (screen) and trellis elements, complemented by white roofs.
The allure and challenges presented by the Island of Bermuda served as our inspiration. Playing with the contrast of the vibrant blue hues of the ocean and sky against the traditional white treatment of Bermuda’s iconic roofs, we sought to create a captivating design that both resonates with the island’s heritage and captures its breathtaking beauty.
What were your references of inspiration?
The island’s specific environmental challenges, such as hurricanes, influenced the need for simple and resilient construction, utilizing local labor for implementation. The overarching theme was simplicity and warmth, creating a hotel that evokes the comfort of home with a minimalist yet inviting ambiance.
In keeping with the scarcity of fresh water on the island, we paid homage to Indigenous practices of collecting rainwater from roofs and disinfecting it with limestone. To merge tradition with contemporary solutions, we incorporated Duraslate. It’s an innovative material that not only advances current science but also preserves the classic Bermuda lime wash roof with added aesthetic and antiseptic qualities, flawlessly blending modernity with the island’s rich heritage.
What’s your favorite detail?
The project’s most cherished detail lies in the designed louvers, or screens, that enhance the overall character while serving a functional purpose. These intricate elements create a harmonious connection between the indoors and outdoors, allowing breathtaking ocean views to be enjoyed from every room.
What provided a welcome distraction on the job?
One of this project’s most exciting parts was the inclusion of natural pools. It wasn’t without challenges as recent regulations have limited their construction.
Next project on the horizon?
Our next project is the highly anticipated Nobu Abu Dhabi. With meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to delivering an exceptional guest experience, our goal is to make Nobu Abu Dhabi a landmark destination.
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