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"Under the Tree" Beach Club at The Sanya EDITION, China by Various Associates

Project name:
Beach Club at The Sanya EDITION
Architecture firm:
Various Associates
The Sanya EDITION, Haitang Bay, Sanya, China
Principal architect:
Qianyi Lin, Dongzi Yang
Design team:
Jianpeng Liu, Zhichao Lin, Yue Zhang, Shiqi Li (follow-up work)
Interior design:
Built area:
700 m²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
January 2022
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
Tools used:
Bamboo, concrete, glass, wood, stone
Hospitality › Beach Club

01. A modern beach journey

EDITION, luxury boutique hotel brand affiliated to MARRIOTT, entrusted Various Associates to upgrade the beach club of its first hotel opened in China, known as The Sanya EDITION.

Located at the picturesque Haitang Bay, The Sanya EDITION enjoys a first-class beach and a fascinating sea view. Together with natural coconut groves, it creates a strong vibe unique to Hainan and brings unprecedented leisure experience for the guests. As every EDITION hotel embraces local aesthetic features, they're distinguished from each other while all sharing an iconic brand identity. The aesthetics of The Sanya EDITION is defined by lush greenery, textured materials in original colors, and soft lighting.

As Various Associates took on the project, the primary consideration was how to create a tasteful, cozy and relaxing venue for socializing while incorporating the inviting natural landscape of Sanya and the aesthetics of EDITION into the design.

Through low-impact design interventions, the new structures blend with the existing landscapes and protected trees on the site, and echo the expansive, azure Haitang Bay across the coconut groves. The beach club "grows" from a site enclosed by the existing plants, which are the soul of the new space.

2. Activated venue

The hotel sought creative design strategies, with the hope to refresh and activate the serene, slightly deserted outdoor beach area whilst introducing young, fashionable lifestyle and socializing activities, so as to turn it into a landmark in Haitang Bay and even in the wider city.

The renewed beach club provides a strong connection among different activity areas in the surroundings, and forms a rendezvous brimming with vigor and joy. Bar goers, guests taking a sunbath, swimmers and volleyball players are not visually blocked from each other. The open space allows the users to throw themselves into a passionate vibe without taking away the sense of boundary that keeps them comfortable.

Upbeat DJs bring a musical feast from early afternoon, which infuses vitality into the area from day to night along with diversified beach activities.

3. Overlapping "tree" canopies

"Under the Tree" is the design concept of the project. It conveys the design team's intention to create a comfortable, unrestrained space. The continuous bamboo-woven structures consist of five overlapping tree-like canopies with different heights and forms. Their organic and natural curved profiles merge beautifully into the lush nature.

The natural coconut groves and the new structures are scattered around sunken booths. The new structures are connected to the ground through their "trunks" that naturally blend with the preserved plants. The expansive and naturally curvy "tree" canopies bring sufficient protection to the club's guests, while the space between each canopy unintentionally brings surrounding greenery into the view.

Every "tree" canopy features a curvy form. The clustering canopy structures form beautiful and continuous lines that generate a well-arranged spatial rhythm that blends into nature. To ensure a pure visual effect, every structure is presented as an independent work of bamboo weaving, which took days of on-site work by multiple experienced craftsmen. The structures are designed at lowered heights where the guests can use the canopies as a perfect background for photo taking. A main bar counter is set up at the center of the site in the shape of a giant trunk, generating a circulation around the bar so that the bartenders can better capture the needs of guests.

4. Shedding sunlight

The new "tree" canopy structures utilize the craft of bamboo weaving, which carries the typical impression on tropical cities. The design team chose natural and locally sourced materials, to represent the island city and enable the new outdoor structures to adapt to natural changes.

The material selection emphasizes not only textures, but also the quality of being nature-friendly. Natural bamboo and wood build up the structures, and recycled pebble-wash creates warm, textured pavements, all of which contribute to a sustainable design project committed to environmental protection.

The unique sunken counter seatings and booths under the pavilions enable the guests to enjoy drinking in water. The cool breeze, light, music and wine bring about a dynamic atmosphere, inviting hotel guests and tourists to engage in.

Each booth has an exclusive waterfront hammock that allows the guests to engage with sunshine and water in an enclosed private space and enjoy the beautiful view inside the hotel.

5. Nighttime passion

The tightly interwoven bamboo structures allow sunshine to penetrate through in the daytime. When lights are turned on at night, the steel skeleton wrapped in bamboo strips, which stretches like the patterns of a leaf, reveal themselves to the guests, and render the canopy into a giant banana leaf when one looks up, conveying a sense of poetry and revealing the beauty of the structure.

After the sun sets, the wonderful night life at the beach club starts. Light emits upwards from the "trunks", invigorating the space, while the expansive canopies wrap up the light and separate it from other areas of the hotel to reduce impact on the tranquility of the seaside.

The unique color and texture of bamboo-woven structures are coupled with diffusing light to create a night vibe that the hotel appreciates, and add a touch of romance and warmth to the space.

The renewed beach club, based on the design concept "Under the Tree", indulges its guests in the passion of Hainan Island from day to night in a way that integrates into nature.


Various Associates is an architecture and interior design practice working regionally and internationally on research-based design projects.VA was founded in 2017 as a team of designers from an international background with professional expertise in architecture, interior design, material design, graphic and interaction design. The studio is developing ambitious high-end projects including boutique hotels, restaurants, retail spaces, workspaces and galleries. VA focuses on enhancing spaces and developing material details using bespoke approaches to give unique visual expressions to each project. VA also gives artists and designers a platform to collaborate and reimagine new ways to be creative and break down barriers between the arts.

By Liliana Alvarez

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