Nomadic Resorts is an interdisciplinary design and project development company servicing the hospitality industry with unique, sustainable, and beautiful structures. With offices in the Netherlands, Mauritius, and South Africa, Nomadic Resorts uses a holistic approach to create sustainable resort and residential projects that organically fit into their natural surroundings. For Nomadic, all design should serve as a bridge to connect nature, culture, and people, and in striving to change the way resorts, camps, and lodges are designed, built, and operated, Nomadic Resorts has proven that research, extensive experimentation, and the testing of new methods, materials, and technologies is critical to achieving design and functionality. In being this thorough, Nomadic Resorts is able to offer clients optimized structural solutions that use both state-of-the-art technology and knowledge from local vernacular architecture.
Particularly specializing in sustainable architecture, Nomadic Resorts uses contemporary bamboo construction, treetop living concepts, tensile membrane design and engineering, regenerative landscape design, permaculture, and low-carbon engineering strategies to develop new experiential hospitality typologies. Nomadic Resorts derives its inspiration from the natural environment and strives to create designs that celebrate biodiversity, complement the inherent features of building sites, and respect the natural forms in Mother Nature.
Considered to be one of the earliest nomadic housing structures, tents have improved quite slowly throughout the ages: the essential construction methodology has remained relatively stable for thousands of years. “In ancient times, tents required multiple rigid structural elements (locally sourced timber poles, bamboo, or bones), and were covered by animal skins or various rudimentary woven fabrics. The fur from animal hides—commonly camel hair or seal skin—provided a high level of insulation during the winter months. The interiors of these tents were ripe with a distinct ‘feral’ smell, and the air quality in colder climates was often smoky from warming fires,” noted Louis Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Nomadic Resorts. “In truth, these types of structures wouldn’t meet the level of comfort expected by a new generation of ‘woke’ ecotourists.”
To address this, Nomadic Resorts developed modular tensile structures using the most advanced fabrics available and ensured that it could be accurately engineered to withstand extreme weather conditions while providing efficient thermal comfort that would last a similar length of time as a conventional building.
By working closely with a network of specialists in various green building and sustainable design fields including waterscape ecologists, renewable energy technicians, treetop canopy walkway and treehouse specialists, bamboo builders, aquaponics experts, permaculture designers, tree surgeons, spa consultants, and structural engineers, Nomadic Resorts has been able to draw on a vast range of expertise to overcome technical construction obstacles.
“The biggest challenge we face is identifying fabrics that combine high performance with a sustainable life cycle analysis,” stated Louis Thompson, founder of Nomadic Resorts.
“Having noticed the distinct lack of innovation in tented accommodations over the last ten thousand years, we concluded that there may be an opportunity to leverage new developments in fabric engineering to create nature-inspired, modular structures that are better suited to the expectations of a more ‘coddled’ society,” says Thompson. Unfortunately for the planet, some of the most readily available materials worldwide are plastic waste, so Nomadic Resorts endeavored to see if they could find a way to harvest a pollutant and transform it into a sustainable asset.
“In our next tent model, we are delighted to announce that we will be making extensive use of reclaimed shoreline plastics for the fabrics, insulation, soft furnishings, bedding, fixed furniture, and even the floor,” states Olav Bruin, Creative Director. “It will in fact be the first tent, that we know of, made predominately from ocean waste plastic.”
In looking into the future of component production, Nomadic Resorts is innovatively hopeful that it will someday be possible to harness silkworms to create tent fabrics, or even robotically fabricate structural members from the molecular components found in tree branches and insect exoskeletons.
Another area which in which Nomadic resorts has invested research resources is in identifying modular renewable energy solutions combined with sustainable energy storage systems to create zero-carbon camps with the capability to function off-grid. “Over the years we have witnessed decreases in the cost of renewables and are now confident that membrane integrated photovoltaics and smart fabric technology will soon be a reality,” revealed Neil Hendrikz, the company’s COO who has extensive experience in developing lodges in remote locations
Since 2011, Nomadic Resorts has designed, engineered, fabricated, and installed a family of tented products—The Looper, The Urchin, and The Seedpod—at lodges and resorts for various luxury hotel groups. Nomadic Resorts has showcased their beautiful, practical, and Earth-conscious structures at a variety of luxury resorts, retreats, and camps in all corners of the world, including for Resplendent Ceylon, Six Senses Resorts and Spas, Soneva Group, Banyan Tree, &Beyond, Wilderness Safaris, African Bush Camps, and Tri Lanka. By redefining the notion of “tented accommodation”, Nomadic Resorts has reduced the physical footprint of their developments and provided a similar level of “luxury” as many of the traditional resorts. The tourism industry is currently in a state of flux and adaptation, and it is increasingly clear that the hospitality sector is in need of a radical shift to face a changing commercial landscape that is learning to function in a low-touch economy. Rather than be seen as an obstacle, this could be a moment for the industry to reconsider the traditional travel modus operandi and adopt bold new strategies to develop and operate resorts in an entirely new way.
“Maybe the future of glamping could become an inquiry into our relationship with the planet and a unique opportunity to explore ways to reduce the weight of Mankind on the earth,” Thompson suggested.
Whatever the future of travel may bring, Nomadic Resorts will be waiting with open doors to usher travellers into the comfort and natural modular beauty of its one-of-a-kind Earth-conscious accommodations.