Kandima is my Golden Buzzer entry in the Maldives’ Got Talent resort show this season. I know Simon Cowell would give it a thumbs up. I can just hear him saying, “From the moment you stepped on stage you had our attention. You have taken a classic and made it your own. It is so inventive, so fresh, so current, so now. The great thing about this show is discovering things that you haven’t seen before. There is definitely a gap in the market for something like this.”
I am a sucker for aesthetic design. So many resorts try to capture the Maldivian spirit by emulating the traditional design and craft. Kandima’s inspiration comes from nature. Predominantly the ocean (with a rich, pervasive palette of blues), punctuated by vibrant greens and touches of palm fronds. Kandima has perhaps my favourite reception area. Like the entire resort that it welcomes you to, it is modern, dramatic, creative. It’s cathedral-like nave opens to the blue skies.
It is no surprise then that I bumped into my favourite Maldivian artist, who is actually an artist-in-residence here – Aima Musko. I was Aima’s first as an artist, and then a customer of hers for design as she re-conceived the Maldives Complete logo and website theme. We have stayed in touch as friends over the years and it was a real treat to meet up with her face to face again at the resort. I knew she had been here when I wrote about the Kandima Artist’s Studio, but I thought that was a short-term event or promotion. It turns out that the Studio is a full time programme that the resort continues to invest in and expand (stay tuned for a profile on this young lady who is a talent show in her own right).
Kandima is ranked as a “4+ star”, but really it stands shoulder to shoulder with about any standard 5-star resort and is in fact far superior to many Maldives properties claiming to be 5-star. The restaurants are as good as any top-flight property and actually, some operators are calling Kandima 5-star whether the resort does or not. If you appreciate design artistry, then Kandima is one of the best value for money options in the Maldives.
The Maldives keeps developing and getting better and so, we hope, does Maldives Complete. The latest refinement injects an extra bit of authentic Maldivian style and flair to the site with the contributions of up-and-coming artist Aima Musthafa (see photo below) who has redesigned its logo and design palette.
I’ve admired Aima’s work since I first discovered her in the “Cool Women” piece. I’m honoured to have been her very first customer and proud owner of her triptych “Raalhu Girl” (“Raalu” means “wave” in Dhivehi). After going abroad for some art and design studies, she has returned to her home shores to ply her creative brush and was recently was showcased in Kandima’s artist collective.
The Maldives Complete brief was to infuse the look with colour and culture of the Maldives it represented. I wanted to add the Dhivehi words for “Maldives Complete – “Furihama Dhivehi Raajje”. So Aima selected a font that would work well in both languages capturing the dynamic fluidity of the Dhivehi characters.
Part of what drives to me to this hobby is the escapism of immersing myself into the Laccadive world even though I am hunkered down five thousand miles away in damp, chilly England. I’ve always crafted the site to be saturated with local imagery so using it would be like a digital visit to this paradise. I have always used a collection of colours that evokes the vibrant tropical and aquatic tapestry of the destination. Aima formalised this palette some colours more carefully aligned in tone and complementarity (see her notes below). She then blended the native colours into a design similarly melding familiar shapes and forms. The result is a striking new emblem for all complete Maldives appreciation.
The new logo has also been an opportunity for a general cosmetic tidy-up to the site as I had to touch so may main pages. I have aligned some of the graphical elements more precisely and used Aima’s colour palette in place across the pages.
Today’s post is also sort of a “Finally Seen”. I’ve been telling resorts for years that they should commission Aima Musko to do art pieces for their villa. She is one of the finest artistic talents in the Maldives and I can proudly say that I was Aimee’s very first customer to buy one of her paintings. Well, finally, Aimee – and a number of other fellow Maldivian artists – are being assembled by a resort, Kandima for their KULA ‘programme’ (they refer to it as an ‘exhibition’, but it is really more like a resident festival):
- “KULA means ‘Colours’ in Dhivehi and it is our vision that this programme will support the full spectrum of the contemporary creative arts, from local crafts, fashion, digital photography, videography to music, and open up new horizons for the local art community like never before. The entire resort will be a glorious art gallery and thanks to collaboration with MAC (Maldives Artists Community, a local art NGO with over 100 members), Kandima Maldives is set to host regular exhibitions and exciting performances by local artists. There will be live art demonstrations and guests can unleash their inner Picasso with classes at Kandima’s very own Art Studio. Set on the edge of a natural lake, it will be one of the most peaceful locations on the island, giving both guests and artists the inspiration and calm space they need to create their masterpiece!”
Colour me delighted.
Happy Mothers Day!
Mothers Day is celebrated on whole range of days in different countries around the world, but it is celebrated on the ‘India Sub-Continent’ today (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka). The holiday has roots in the Roman festival of Hilaria where the ‘Earth Goddess’ was celebrated on the final day of the vernal equinox festival (spring finally sprung!).
It is also celebrated in the USA today where my own mother lives. The ‘traditional’ American ritual includes breakfasts in bed, homemade cards and a break from traditional chores as children (and husbands) try to chip to give Mom a break for one 24 hour period.
It seemed appropriate to post on ‘Cool Women’, which was created for International Women’s Day earlier this year, on this more traditional day of honouring women. My mother, Marjorie Lynn, is also a ‘Cool Woman’ in very much the spirit of the video. She ran a YWCA which provided support programmes for women including a women’s shelter and a number of outreach and community initiatives. Mom has always been a rather outspoken activist for well-being and capabilities of women with all the strength of Aemii Musko’s wave (see above).