Tipai Wildlife Luxuries is built at the intersection of opulence and sustainability, with localisation at its crux. Located in the midst of a drought-prone zone, it draws on local resources whilst honouring the community that has been an indispensable part of building it from the ground up. Ariane Thakore Ginwala from This and That, who is a self-taught interior designer and “a bit of an architect” is the principal designer for Tipai. “I design a lot of restaurants and a few residences and have spent the last five years building this resort,” she says about Tipai. She ushers us in, chronicling the entire process from its conception to construction.
ELLE: What are the core values associated with building Tipai?
Ariane Thakore Ginwala (ATG): Tipai’s owner, Keyur Joshi, came to me a few years ago, wanting to give back to society. He is also very passionate about wildlife and thus began our journey. The core values associated with us, I would say, are extreme localisation and personalisation. Located in Maharashtra while being close to the Telangana border, we focused on the area’s innate richness and tried to base our philosophies on the same.
ELLE: Share insight into the conscious textile selection and refurbished wood furnishings that adorn Tipai’s villas.
ATG: When we narrowed down the area, we focused on the local textiles that could be utilised. They specialised in a few things like leaf block-printing, which no one else did, alongside a medley of hand-painted techniques on fabrics. We also hired a textile designer who gave them all the designs and got the manufacturing done locally. So whether it’s the uniforms, the bed covers or the bathrobes, everything has been consciously made. A lot of the furniture is refurbished there, including pieces which are broken and old. We’ve used them in the restaurant area and even bedrooms.
ELLE: How did you ensure that the fragile ecosystems around wildlife in the area are not disrupted?
ATG: Mostly, when they have a large property, most people try and use every inch of it to the maximum to build more rooms, you know? Whereas we don’t go by that philosophy. We’ve tried to retain the land as much as possible and reduced the use of concrete to make our land better. By planting trees and incorporating biomass in the process, we’ve made our soil richer.
ELLE: The materials in the villas keep them a few degrees cooler naturally. How did you achieve this?
ATG: It’s because of the walls, which are around 14 inches thick and the kavelus, i.e., the conical roofs, that facilitate in blocking the heat. As it’s a luxury hotel stay, we had to fit ACs as well, but even without them, this place, where the temperature can rise up to 48 degrees, is relatively cooler because of its mindful build.
ELLE: How can luxury exist in tandem with sustainability, especially in the field of interiors and architecture?
ATG: Sustainable, conscious luxury is the new travel. The true essence of luxury lies in handcrafted products, made slowly and with intention. We spent a lot of time cherry-picking responsible brands to stay true to our vision. As examples, our basins are handmade, the small batches of chocolates are from homegrown brands, and we reached out to Forest Essentials for the toiletries.
ELLE: Alongside building a resort, which is ultimately a business, how do your efforts sustain a community?
ATG: We’ve employed around 60-70 people over the past few years. Most of the community there has worked on the site and was also involved in building and planting. And eventually, we absorbed them as horticulturists. The women from the area now have regular jobs, and some have also assumed the duties of security guards. And it’s nice to see this, given that I would work in the field there, surrounded by only men. And that, in turn, played a role in motivating these women to come to work!
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