NewsFebruary 11, 2024

Inside the Innovative Design of Zamani Islands by Shaun Killa

The recently unveiled Zamani Islands project has fundamentally reimagined the conceptual foundations upon which resort structures are traditionally built. At the forefront of this groundbreaking design is Shaun Killa, the visionary design director and founder of Killa Design, who graciously unveiled the intricacies of this avant-garde project in this exclusive feature.

Killa Design has skillfully intertwined inspiration from natural elements, sustainability initiatives, and cutting-edge technologies to craft a resort that stands at the height of luxury and eco-friendliness.


Inspired by Nature

The master plan for Zamani Islands draws inspiration from the enchanting natural formations of the lagoon atolls. The design concept takes cues from the wind, waves, and tidal currents that shape the islands, creating a synergy between nature and the multitude of resort experiences. Sculpted by environmental surroundings, the islands prioritise maximum beach access and panoramic views, offering guests an immersive connection with the surrounding lagoons and horizon.

Shared Values and Sustainable Vision

Killa Design’s involvement in the Zamani Islands project was propelled by a shared vision with Atoll Estates – the creation of a highly sustainable luxury resort powered entirely by renewable energy. The architects, known for their expertise in zero energy/water/waste ultra-luxury resorts such as Sherbara Resort in Saudi Arabia, were instrumental in materialising the client’s vision and setting new benchmarks for eco-friendly luxury hospitality in the Maldives and beyond.

Further to the sustainability accruements, the owners wanted to create an innovative hospitality destination differentiating from other resorts through design and guest experiences, which is at the core of Killa Designs’ approach to resorts.

Overcoming Challenges with Innovation

Shaun acknowledges the distinctive challenges of offshore resort construction, yet Killa Design boldly addresses them through innovative building technologies. Employing a modular construction methodology, the team ensured high quality and durability throughout the resort. Sustainability goals were met through the use of regionally available materials, including reclaimed timber, bamboo, and recycled aluminium, minimising environmental impact and reducing the resort’s embedded carbon footprint.

Furthermore, their design seamlessly integrates biophilic elements, such as green spaces, natural light, and ventilation systems.  These features not only enhance guests’ well-being but also contribute to a reduction in energy consumption.

Cutting-Edge Technologies at Play

The integration of cutting-edge technologies for the project further enhances the uniqueness of Zamani Islands’ design. Killa Design leveraged BIM (Building Information Modelling) software to meticulously model every resort aspect, offering the owners a virtual reality experience during the design phase. Parametric and regenerative software optimised design elements, improved buildability, and contributed to unforgettable guest experiences within the resort.

Sustainability Embedded in Every Detail

Zamani Islands proudly stands as the Maldives’ first 100% renewable energy-powered property, and Killa Design’s emphasis towards sustainability is evident in every aspect of the design and development. Building Integrated Photo-Voltaic (BIPV) systems harness solar energy efficiently, harmonising with the resort’s aesthetic appeal. From conscientious material selection to implementing Agri-Photovoltaics and indoor farming, every detail is crafted to minimise environmental impact while nurturing local ecosystems.

Shaun Killa has expressed a sense of pride in the role played by his team in establishing a prospective benchmark for ecotourism with Zamani Islands. The belief is that this initiative will serve as an inspiration, not confined to the Maldives but extending globally, encouraging the development of more sustainable resorts. By setting new standards for environmentally conscious hospitality, he hopes to educate guests and encourage them to make more environmentally conscious choices in their vacation destinations and overall lives.

Atoll Estates‘ Signature Architectural Direction

Amit Majumder & Dmitry Bourtov, the founders and curators of Atoll Estates, articulate the strategic reasoning behind their selection of Killa Design for the project:

“Our decision to appoint Shaun Killa and Killa Design as the master planner for Zamani Islands and architects of the most prominent resort within the development was a strategic choice inspired by their exceptional track record in creating visually striking, sustainable architectural marvels. Killa Design’s approach to design, which masterfully blends aesthetic elegance with environmental consciousness, resonates perfectly with the ethos of Atoll Estates and the vision of Zamani Islands. This collaboration is more than a partnership; it’s a harmonious fusion of shared values and innovative ideas, poised to set a new benchmark in luxury hospitality and environmental stewardship on a global stage.”

For more information, please visit the website or visit their Instagram at @atollestates or email