Some of our favorite projects are the ones that draw on the simple pleasures of childhood for inspiration. One of these pleasures is without a doubt the tree house. Even though we don’t spend as much time in tree houses as we’d like to these days, we love to see them incorporated into entertaining experiences: and today’s featured project does exactly that. Among the many dining options at Soneva Kiri Resort in Thailand, one is set high up in the branches of the resort’s lush forest.
The Dining Pod, as this al fresco dining experience is called, hangs about 16 feet above the ground. Looking at pictures of this pod, you might be wondering how the guests and the servers get up there. As you can see, there are no stairs or elevator leading up to the woven pod. Well, it turns out that the pod itself is an elevator. Controlled by a system of cables and winches, The Dining Pod can be lowered to the ground where up to four diners can board before it is lifted back up. Although 16 feet might not sound all that high, you have to consider that the pod is a little ways up a hill. The combined elevation of the Dining Pod and the hillside slope guarantees an amazing view of the Gulf of Thailand.
As for your meal service, your waiter and food come flying over to you from the kitchen via a zip line. How exactly they do this without losing part of your meal we can’t say for sure; it’s obviously not a job just anyone can handle.
The pod and elevator system were designed by the Dutch architecture firm 24H Architecture. The design principles of this Rotterdam-based firm are informed by the natural world, making 24H a perfect match for this eco-friendly resort. In addition to The Dining Pod, 24H also contributed a number of other “ecological icons” to the resort, such as The Children Activity and Learning Center and the hanging Eco Suites. Their approach to each of these projects at the resort relied on native materials and designs that mimic the natural surroundings. The rigid frame of The Dining Pod, for example, is covered with woven rattan, the fibrous stems from local palms. Depending on how you look at it, the pod resembles various natural objects one might find hanging in a tree: it definitely has a nest-like appearance, but you could also say it looks like a cocoon, or even a giant coconut. No matter what you call it, you won’t find a dining experience quite like this one anywhere else.