Travel: Rustic Landscape Design and Green Walls at Nizuc Resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya

August 2, 2013 by

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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.

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Photo: Sarah Amandolare, Urban Gardens.

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.

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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.

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Photo: Sarah Amandolare, Urban Gardens. 

During the resort’s building phase, sand dunes were relocated to preserve dune grasses then restored when the bulldozers departed.

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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.

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Vegetation and wood figure prominently in Escodero’s design. A Ziricote tree is visible from the resort’s lounge, Bar A Kan.

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Photo: Sarah Amandolare, Urban Gardens.

Wood from unsalvageable Mangrove trees frames a mirror inside the resort’s Mediterranean restaurant, Terra Nostra.

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Photo: Sarah Amandolare, Urban Gardens.

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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.

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Photo: Sarah Amandolare, Urban Gardens.

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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.

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Photos by Sarah Amandolare  and others from Nizuc.

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