Situated in Bali’s spiritual centre of Ubud, on the edge of the jungle overlooking a tranquil river is Dragon House, a luxury villa which has to be ‘experienced’ to be fully appreciated. Combining innovative, contemporary architecture, with traditional Balinese building materials, Dragon House offers far more than your average Bali escape for those who are seeking the essence of what Ubud really has to offer.
Dragon House is situated in a small community called Penjiwaan, in the ancient area of MAS just outside of Ubud. The community includes other high calibre homes belonging to international owners that include artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs. Based on a progressive concept, the community itself was developed to bring together a diverse range of interesting, like-minded, talented and socially conscious individuals in order to stimulate creative thinking and collaboration in an uplifting and supportive environment. So far it is achieving its aims with several new ventures having been born from the community which include a yoga school and three of Bali’s most highly regarded vegetarian cafés and restaurants.
When you arrive at the community, it’s not difficult to imagine how one would find inspiration from the location. There is an immediate sense of serenity brought on by the surrounding rice paddies and dense jungle that is visible on the opposite side of the river and the noise from the chaos of central Ubud is replaced with the sounds of the buzzing activity of the rainforest. Dragon House itself was created with the intention of hosting private meditation retreats and there is an undeniable, pure, spiritual energy that permeates through the community and resides very strongly in Dragon House.
Built into the hillside over four spectacular levels, Dragon House’s entry is via a mystical red doorway with two dragon ‘guardians’ that lead you down a dramatic staircase, it’s here that you’ll find the main living areas of the home and get your first glimpses of how special this home truly is.
Dragon House’s unique architectural style was based on owner, Andrew’s, vision to create a modern Balinese temple, a home that explored the concept of an ancient ruin, a home that would potentially stand the test of time and become an enduring antiquity amidst the jungle landscape. Bali based architect, Alexis Dornier was engaged to undertake the project and worked closely with Andrew to bring his vision to life, designing a structure that is quite extraordinary. Despite its expansive 1000 sqm size, and the stone clad pillars that feature throughout which add an indestructible quality to the home, the overall feeling of Dragon House is one of lightness and ‘oneness’ with the natural surroundings.
At Andrews request, all local materials have been used in the construction of Dragon House, including the recycled ironwood floors and cedar clad ceilings. On the walls Taro stone, sourced from a nearby quarry adds a rich, organic texture to the interior and Kerobokan stone – a material used in the construction of many temples throughout Bali, frames the walls, creating perfect spaces for artworks and also clads the many neo-classical-like pillars.
The primary living space, which adjoins a sleek kitchen with green granite bench tops is nothing short of spectacular. An upper level void provides the space for iron-wood posts to soar 8 meters in height forming virtual walls which provide the only barrier between the home and the surrounding jungle, allowing you to relax in luxury whilst completely immersing yourself in the environment, gazing at the stars, moon and swaying palm trees above.
Larger than many city apartments, the opulent master suite has full width, sliding glass doors that opens the suite entirely onto an internal balcony, again allowing the outside in. With three further suites on two lower levels, all with views and their own ensuite, plus a variety of spaces for quiet reflection and solitude, the property easily and comfortably accommodates parties of eight.
Based on significant input from owner Andrew, the interior of Dragon House has been designed with the idea of bringing together gatherings of artists, musicians, authors, educators and entrepreneurs in an environment that inspires and stimulates creativity and it certainly succeeds in doing this. Nothing about this home is ordinary, everywhere you turn there is something unique and beautiful to take in, whether it’s the luscious tropical gardens, hand- carved timber features, or portholes and glass windows in the bottom of the stunning infinity edge pool that cantilevers out over a mosaic tiled steam room and sauna below, the features really are endless.
However despite its ‘instagrammability’ and luxury resort-like appointments, the unique energy of the house is clear and reinforced through an array of spiritual iconography found throughout the home, from Buddhas to mandalas and images of flying monks, this is a place that offers an opportunity to travel not just to Ubud but to higher levels of consciousness. Post ‘Eat Pray Love’, in a time where ‘healing’ and enlightenment have become part of the local tourism vernacular, this home offers something as intrinsically beautiful as its location and as extraordinary as its architecture.
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