Regenerative Design, Chalets Blackheath - Garden Life

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Journal / Garden Designs

Regenerative Design, Chalets Blackheath

Chalets at Blackheath is a boutique retreat that sits on 17 acres of bushland immediately adjacent to the UNESCO World-Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park, in the alpine village of Blackheath.

This pioneering project began in 2020 with the acquisition of the renowned Jemby Rinjah eco-lodge. At the time of purchase, the property had been burnt almost to the ground, the devastating December 2019 bushfires having destroyed 80% of the lodge and its surrounding flora and fauna.

“We saw our job primarily as assisting the natural bush return in all its glory''

We were approached by our client to consult on the sensitive landscape design surrounding the chalets and regeneration of the bush, also assisting with circulation around the property, lighting design and surface finishes.

Garden Life’s creative director, Richard Unsworth, was thrilled to be involved, “We saw our job primarily as assisting the natural bush return in all its glory after being ravaged by the fires, whilst protecting the existing planting during the construction. Blackheath has always been my favourite place in the mountains to retreat to and I was thrilled to be part of the exciting transformation of this incredible piece of land.”

Over 80 species of native flora were sprouting up on the charred grounds and along with local environmentalist Alex Strachan, the rehabilitation of hundreds of these indigenous plants was co-ordinated. Working alongside local company Wildplant Rescue and a team of volunteers, Strachan and his team were able to successfully rescue and relocate hundreds of native wild plants that would have otherwise been lost.

A calming colour palette and organic textures draw inspiration from the local geology

The conservation theme continues in the chalets: interiors combine the use of sustainable materials – clay, hemp, and stone – that serves to connect guests to the natural setting. The main feature wall was constructed using ancient techniques and earth, which has a very low carbon footprint and maintains ideal temperatures due to its high thermal mass, reducing the need for heating and cooling. A calming colour palette and organic textures draw inspiration from the local geology, which includes soaring sandstone formations, majestic eucalyptus trees, and ancient caves forming placebased links between the accommodation and the distinctive characteristics of the landscape.

 

GARDEN LIFE. PLANT JOY.

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