Travel: Rustic Landscape Design and Green Walls at Nizuc Resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya
August 2, 2013 by Sarah Amandolare
Just twenty minutes from Cancun, away from the parties and chaos, a new resort called Nizuc is quietly doing its part to preserve the lush local landscape.
Set on the grounds of what was once the private retreat for Mexico’s president, Nizuc Resort & Spa maintains a secluded vibe despite being a quick drive from downtown Cancun–thanks in part to its careful approach to landscape design.
The resort rests beside the MesoAmerican Reef, the second largest reef system in the world–reason enough for Nizuc’s designers to pursue a sustainable aesthetic. Tangled Mangrove trees grow throughout the property are cultivated in the resort’s onsite greenhouse along with other local plants.
During the resort’s building phase, sand dunes were relocated to preserve dune grasses then restored when the bulldozers departed.
Architect Alejandro Escodero, who also worked on the landscape and interior design for Nizuc, says 99 percent of plants growing on the grounds came from the property–only a few larger palm trees were brought in from outside.
Vegetation and wood figure prominently in Escodero’s design. A Ziricote tree is visible from the resort’s lounge, Bar A Kan.
Wood from unsalvageable Mangrove trees frames a mirror inside the resort’s Mediterranean restaurant, Terra Nostra.
The landscape at Nizuc feels untrammeled and rustic, despite a painstaking design effort. Living walls, bursting with succulents, ferns and palms, decorate Café de la Playa. Escodero, who previously designed interiors for high-end homes, helped design and plant the walls.
He says his greatest challenge was adapting his artistic sensibility to the organization and standardization required of a hotel project. So while Nizuc’s living walls are patterned to show off different leaves and shades of green, the overall effect is wild, natural and organic.
Photos by Sarah Amandolare and others from Nizuc.