le jardin du sanctuaire – a collaborative competition project with zp landscape design

Posted: 19th October 2021

During the spring/summer of 2020 – need I say a trying time for all of us – Boaz Studio teamed up with landscape designer, Zaidée Penhaligon, to design an entry for a design competition based in Provence, South of France. The Jardin de Villars Contest challenged its entrants to create a sustainable hospitality concept on a site currently functioning as 9 holes golf course. No announcement of winners has ever been made.

Rendered full site map

Our proposed site plan.


“Our wish is to turn it into a verdant, fragrant garden where rosemary and thyme give golfers and non-golfers alike an opportunity to nourish their body and mind.” – Jardin De  Villars

The goal was to create an eco-sustainable place that offers visitors to the site an opportunity to make connections with their deeper selves and nature alike. This brief felt too compelling to miss, especially since we’re a big fan of sustainable and biophilic design! Entering design competitions is a fun way to keep creative minds engaged, promote design innovation and sheer possibility. They can also facilitate new connections too!


The competition was due to be judged by 7 masters of their field, a mix of designers to hospitality experts. Luxury hospitality entrepreneur, Basit Ignet, founder of Athal Hospitality; Stephen Fraenkel, CEO, Athal Hospitality; Samuel Paillat, founder and partner, Samuel Paillat & Associates; Tarek Qaddumi, Architect, Regional Director at Morphosis L.A.; France’s revered landscape gardener, Louis Benech; Christopher Rudolph, luxury hospitality expert; and Real Estate and Hospitality developer, Bertrand Otto.

working with zp landscape design

In recognition of the importance of outdoor spaces in this brief, we decided it was only right to get a landscape designer involved to really do this project justice! Stephen and Alice met Zaidée at a couple networking events previously and reached out to her to ask if she’d be interested in working with us. During lockdown we communicated through emails and online video calls, but this did not stop us creating a proposal we are all proud of.

our proposal

We wanted to create a sanctuary with elements which invite people to engage with their environment through meandering sensory pathways, hilltop views, and a multitude of recreational and relaxing spaces. Holistic sustainability and maximising the inspiration of the local area were always at the heart of our project. The Violet de Provence artichoke was fundamental to the inspiration of this proposal, its purple colour and scaly textures and shape gave us plenty of design ideas to implement throughout the scheme.

The proposed site is populated by cabins scattered around the site, each offering unobstructed views with a large, glazed frontage, and architectural features such as a stepped planted roof and artichoke inspired relief wall. The largest building, “Le Sanctuaire”, is designed using three artichoke inspired geometric spaces and houses a restaurant, spa, meditation and conference rooms, and sun terrace.

material palette

Materials consisted of innovative, natural, and local examples, such as white limestone, red clay, and artichoke based eco plastics. We used local practices such as chaux lime paint and rammed earth walls which led to the buildings depth and character. The colour palette stems from the surrounding area, with muted lavenders, greens, and earthy tones giving the spaces a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere.


The visitor is led on a journey to reach their cabins via meandering pathways through textural meadow planting, finding places to pause in pockets of mown turf the shape of golf tees, and low natural stone walls which double as seating. Adjacent to the main building is a formal kitchen garden and pétanque court where guests to the restaurant can watch the chefs pick their ingredients. Vegetated swales run along the contours of the land, collecting and slowly releasing surface water so that it does not inundate the landscape. A raised timber walkway bridges the swales and provides a dry path for guests.

To view our full project, please click here.

ZP Landscape Design

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"We used Boaz Studio as we needed some help reimagining our lounge after moving in just before having our first child. Our house wasn't working for us and our toddler. Stephen is so approachable and friendly and really listens. He's keen to understand what your needs and wants are as a client and then has an amazing way of turning that into something beautiful, practical, and personal. I am so impressed and would highly recommend Boaz Studio. On top of that, they're really professional, and communication is easy."

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