Bill Bensley's design philosophy: Lebih gila, lebih biak. That's Indonesian for "the older, the better." For the American-born, Bangkok-based architect and landscape designer who specializes in luxury resorts, that means blurring the line between interior and exterior, creating lush environments that aim not to disturb the natural landscape. The Four Seasons Koh Samui in Thailand, for instance, was built in an old coconut grove, and Besley boasts that not one of the 856 trees was cut down. "There are palms growing right through our architecture," he says. This month, he opens his latest project, the lakeside Leela Palace in Udaipur, India. One of its "oddities": Guests may choose to arrive by boat.
[Image courtesy of Bill Bensley Design Studio]