A Tribute to Ed Tuttle, the Architect Behind Aman Resort’s Unique Blueprint
It is often easy to forget the importance of our built environment. Each day we flow in and out of buildings, taking for granted the planning behind each space. And while, in my opinion, many structures are far too practical and boring, when you find yourself in a truly innovative and thoughtfully planned space, the impact is resounding. Thus was the forte of the architectural legend Ed Tuttle. A man, perhaps, most well known as the name behind the unique blueprint of Aman Resorts.
In June 2020, Ed Tuttle passed away in his home city of Paris at the age of 75. Born in Seattle, WA, Ed spent his early design career in Asia working on hotel projects across the region. He then moved to Paris where he founded his firm Design Realization in 1977.
Ed Tuttle & Aman
Although Ed completed many stunning residential designs during his career, he is most well known for his hospitality projects. In particular, his work for Aman Resorts, a design highly lauded within the global architectural community. Revered for an approach to design that respects the cultural context of a location and the potential impact of a structure on its surrounding environment, Ed’s technique has since informed some 32 Aman resorts across the world.
Founded in 1988 by Adrian Zecha, then 55, Aman grew around the idea of creating the most incredible guest experiences. And not just with service. The brand instead focuses on destinations that beautifully blend with their environments and allow their landscape to take center stage. Each one perfectly representing the meaning of Aman in Sanskrit, “peace”.
Ed developed a close friendship with Adrian Zecha and along with Kerry Hill, John Heah, and Jean-Michel Gathy, he is credited with setting a new standard in resort design through his work with Aman.
Working for Aman across four continents, Ed’s architectural genius leaves its mark on seven of Aman’s locations, including their first, Amanpuri, 1988.
The Aman Creations of Ed Tuttle
Aman’s First Resort: Amanpuri, Phuket, Thailand (1988)
Ed’s inception of Aman began with one of the brand’s most celebrated projects, Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand. A design that undoubtedly changed hotel design forever, paving the way for contemporary destination hotels.
Aman Le Melezin, Courchevel, France (1992)
A ski-in, ski-out hotel in Courchevel 1850, Aman Le Melezin deftly melds alpine elegance with a distinctly Asian ambiance that encourages peaceful reflection away from the pistes.
Amanjiwo, Central Java, Indonesia (1997)
Named ‘Peaceful Soul’ for the serenity, privacy, and beauty of its setting in Central Java’s cultural heartland, Amanjiwo overlooks the Unesco World Heritage Site of Borobudur, one of Buddhism’s most sacred Mahayana temples.
Perfectly placed for exploring the region’s historic, artistic and cultural highlights, or for simply relaxing in blissful surroundings, the Ed Tuttle-designed resort lies at the foot of the Menoreh Hills, cascading gracefully from a lofty rotunda down the hillside to a magnificent swimming pool.
Amanbagh, Rajasthan, India (2005)
With its pink and blue cities, ancient forts, and tiger-inhabited wilds, Rajasthan is renowned for its wild beauty – the very essence of which can be found in the rugged Aravalli Hills in the garden oasis that is Amanbagh.
Once used by the Maharaja of Alwar as the staging area for royal tiger hunts, this ‘peaceful garden’ is a lush estate. Out of the greenery soar the rose-hued cupolas and vaulted entrances of Amanbagh’s Mughal-inspired structures – utterly peaceful and consummately private.
Amanzoe, Greece (2012)
Amanzoe is one of the most well-known properties in the Aman collection, and owes its beauty to Ed. At Amanzoe, Ed’s style resonates in the minimalist bedrooms, huge en suite bathrooms, expansive outdoor terraces, and the beautifully landscaped grounds, within which 10 operational villas currently sit alongside the Amanzoe hotel.
The Amanzoe Villas
Each villa design is bespoke and built to meet the individual needs and requirements of the purchaser. Constructed with developer Dolphin Capital, the villas follow the architectural guidelines envisaged by Ed.
A master of reflecting cultural flavor and the feel of a place through the use of local materials and techniques true to the architecture of the location, Ed’s approach can clearly be seen in Amanzoe’s Villas.
Amanjena, Morocco (2016)
Inspired by the rose-hued buildings of old Marrakech and its 12th-century Menara gardens, palatial Amanjena lies just outside the fabled Red City.
Amid shady courtyards with petal-strewn fountains, traditional earth-toned pisé-de-terre walls give way to the central basin that nourishes the gardens. Radiating from this ornamental irrigation pool are spacious standalone guest pavilions, each with its own garden and gazebo, and many with private pools. Vaulted ceilings and Moorish arches house cool, elegant interiors, with a generosity of space reflecting the Sahara all around.
Amangani, Jackson, WY, USA (2016)
Blanketed in snow in winter, alive with vivid greenery in summer, Amangani’s extraordinary wilderness at the foot of the Teton Mountains promises year-round, back-to-nature adventures in a stunning setting.
As Ed so beautifully did in all of his resort projects, he designed Amangani, meaning ‘peaceful home’, to perfectly blend into the surrounding nature and reflect the culture of the region.
I hope that the architectural approach of Ed Tuttle, respecting the culture of a location and the potential impact of a structure on its surrounding environment, lives on strong, as it is this kind of design that our world needs!
Words by Anna Beck Bimba