Summer Vacation Is Here: OTL Brings Exotic Destinations to the Mainland

Posted in Insights -

exotic destinations

With summer in full swing, many vacationers are packing their bags to head to exotic destinations – and often, those destinations are located within vacationers’ own cities.

As trends such as ecotourism rise throughout the globe, today’s developers, city planners, architects and designers are increasingly seeking ways to deliver exotic destinations within commercial development projects.

Coinciding with a rise in new urbanism and placemaking in U.S. cities, this new design trend is focused on creating public spaces where people feel transported. In these exotic destinations, guests can gather, relax, feel inspired, and enjoy, while also supporting local businesses and retailers.

How is the feat of bringing lands from far across the sea to a U.S. city’s backyard accomplished?

1.  Make it Feel Real

Delivering exotic destinations to commercial developments requires authenticity.

Designs, materials, and construction techniques must be aligned with the real environment from which the project is inspired in order to create an exotic destination with the power to attract crowds.

For example, OTL recently completed the reimagined construction of an enchanting Japanese botanical garden at Ganna Walska Lotusland in Montecito, California. The project features a series of dramatic streams, cascades and waterfalls as well as several serene ponds resplendent with large koi fish.

The site’s existing main waterfall was built by hand by a local legend (Oswald “Ozzie” Da Ros), who insisted on personally selecting each and every boulder with Ms. Walska herself.

The waterfall, while historic, lacked proper plumbing and leaked like a sieve.  Understanding the client’s desire to maintain the aesthetics of this feature, our team marked each and every one of the boulders with nonpermanent paint and then used a 200-ton crane to dismantle the entire structure. After installing an entirely new plumbing system as well as a waterproof membrane, our crews then replaced the rocks back to their exact original location and position.

Drawing upon our trademarked technique of Geo-Believability®, which describes the design and construction of geologically accurate rockwork and environments based upon a foundation of research, OTL was able to make this water feature and its surrounding environment appear as though they occur naturally – a key to creating exotic destinations that feel authentic and immersive.

2.  Honor History

Even when delivering a fresh new vision, honoring the history of a site helps developers and designers to infuse depth and realism into the exotic destinations they construct.

For example, OTL worked with a design and development team to construct an urban oasis at Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square in Santa Monica, California, that evokes the rich culture and traditions of the indigenous Tongva people.

OTL constructed multiple water features for the 6.2-acre park, each of which embodies a resource-conscious and natural landscape inspired by the Southern California arroyo landscape of washes and ravines that once defined the site.

The project’s design team blended research of the site’s history with modern design and a rich planting and materials palette, which helped OTL to deliver an exotic destination that is truly extraordinary.

3.  Be innovative

Creativity is the language of today’s immersive, exotic developments.

As we create dancing show fountains, noble waterfalls, babbling brooks, and other water features for today’s destinations, we are expressing emotions through water, sounds, and light, and through the artistry of design.

This innovation is further expressed through precise execution. As artists, engineers, and constructors, OTL creates, reimagines, and dreams up designs that evoke emotion and transport guests to faraway lands. Equally, as engineers, we draw upon a depth of technical prowess to ensure that each and every engineered solution performs exactly as it should.

It is this fusion of artistry and precision that truly delivers the exotic destinations today’s developers and owners are seeking.

By creating believable environments, honoring the history of development sites, and infusing creativity and innovation into each project, today’s exotic destinations are increasingly attracting crowds, and delivering tremendous value to developers and owners.

So pack your bags – we hope there’s an exotic vacation (or staycation) in your future.