From its muted, modern brilliance to its sheer vastness and sublimity, Amangiri is a singular architectural triumph that inspires quiet awe. It both honours and celebrates the magic and magnitude of the undisturbed Utah desert, as well as the region’s ancient Navajo heritage.
It was masterly designed by renowned architects Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette and Rick Joy, as I-10 Studio LLC. They collaborated with Adrian Zecha to keep the architecture understated yet elegant, and to integrate it seamlessly within the surrounding desert site that is punctuated with serene mesas and water-carved plateaus.
Every aspect of the Amangiri experience respects the land on which it sits. Conceived with great exactitude and perfection, the hotel has been masterfully designed with sleek, angular minimalism to grant focus to the ruggedly beautiful desert scenery. Rock formations, undulating dunes, a smattering of wild fauna and an endless supply of kaleidoscope sunsets all take centre stage.
Capturing the raw purity of the dramatic landscape, the design’s bold angular planes affirm a magnificent simplicity and beauty. Its simplicity is derived from aesthetic restraint and an understated monumentality, which is neither overwhelming nor unnoticeable.
Instrumental in giving Amangiri its defining quality of being cast or moulded from the earth itself was the developing and refining of the property’s raw material palette that contributes to a natural yet controlled design aesthetic.
The method of casting the concrete structures was specifically developed to closely match the colour and density of the surrounding geological formations. They are made of integrated-colour board-formed concrete that is mixed with local aggregates native to the area such as sandstone, pebble stones and clay. With hues that blend effortlessly into the shifting landscape of sand, sage and rock, the concrete has been delicately tinted with pink, ochre and light yellow.
The structures are cast pristinely smooth, and their organic colour and texture change according to the mesmerising natural light: they feel frozen and timeless, yet at the same time, they are the effortless extension of the site’s unique geology – a magical landscape of the distinctive Entrada sandstone and the ever-changing desert light. Amangiri fits so well into its raw landscape, rendering it nearly invisible against its rugged backdrop.
The buildings’ sculptural quality is intensified by the precise articulation of solids and voids, and by the manipulation of light and shadow. The architects deftly used the geometry, often slanting walls toward each other to provide “slot canyon” views of the desert and mesa.
Although the architecture is sleek and modern, the corresponding interiors are timelessly luxurious with pared-down elegance in soothing neutral colours such as beiges, browns and creams.
The hotel’s interiors, from lighting and furnishings to signage, were custom designed to capture something unique and distinct about the American Southwest, yet rendered in a thoroughly modern way. Hides and leathers, blackened and forged steel are given a modern interpretation, alluding to, yet never overdoing references to the region’s Native American people and the ranchers that continue to inhabit this particular corner of the earth. All lights, electrical or burning, are adapted to not disturb the simplicity and purity that is Amangiri. Every window and wall of the resort frames a view.
Beyond the clearly defined line of the resort, there is nothing but the pristine terrain in which Amangiri is set. The hotel manages to create a palpable sense of stillness, respite, and the kind of peace and equilibrium that can only come from the natural environment, within a contemporary, man-made structure.