HOSPITALITYDESIGN: Desert Hideaway Casa Cook El Gouna Debuts in Egypt

Will Speros • Photography by Fat Tony Studios •
July 2, 2020

The design of Casa Cook El Gouna blends with the surrounding rolling dunes

The Casa Cook vernacular embraces the Greek concept of parea, the celebration of coming together to make memories. Located at the threshold of the Red Sea, Casa Cook El Gouna in Egypt—the second in the brand’s portfolio—echoes the German hotel company’s style while also drawing inspiration from the surrounding blue lagoons, rolling dunes, and sweeping views.

Stylish and functional, the desert oasis shows off a tactile flexibility that “skillfully creates zones for guests to curate their own experience,” says Mark Bellingan, lead architect with South African firm Common Architecture, which oversaw the new build’s architecture and interiors. “By drawing inspiration from common construction methods, humble materials, and simple forms, we aim to design projects that respond with sensitivity to their unique environments.”

Textured plasterwork and rough-hewn timber in the villas emphasize the landscape

A pared-back design reflects modern luxury through an Egyptian lens. Clean lines and sculptural forms juxtapose textured materials like brass, rattan, and linen to balance classic and contemporary sensibilities. Raw wood furnishings and tarnished ceramics accent the restrained interiors, with rough-hewn timber and textured plasterwork installed alongside orange and red tones to offset soothing notes of green and blue. “The overall aesthetic prioritizes the interplay between light and shadow to create graphic focal points that transform throughout the day, creating a rhythm to the passage of time,” Bellingan points out.

The harmony between indoor and outdoor spaces is a key distinction, as it not only conveys a respect to the rugged setting, but natural light also “creates dramatic sculptural [effects] that produce interest and movement,” he explains. Terraces attached to the 100 guestrooms overlook and engage with outdoor communal areas like the swimming pool, gardens, and lagoon-side beach club. As a result, myriad spaces—even secluded corners—are linked visually to ensure the resort embodies parea from all angles.

“Our philosophy was to create a considered escape for the discerning city dweller,” says Bellingan, “with the aim of producing background buildings that don’t scream loudly and provide the vessel for a memorable escape.”

The lagoon-side Beach Bar reflects Egyptian luxury with a pared-back look

Muted tones and wood accents are evident in the holistic spa (left) and on the outdoor deck of the Premium Roof Terrace room

This article originally appeared in HD’s June 2020 issue.

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