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Apr 17, 2015
Itz'ana Designer Samuel Amoia

Behind the Design: A Q&A with Samuel Amoia

From the desk of Colin Hannan:

On his most recent trip to Placencia, we dragged our wonderful designer, Samuel Amoia, away from the site to go for a drink and get some of his thoughts on the overall project.

We went to:
Rumfish Bar Y Vino

We drank:
Sam had them make a special cocktail with Zacapa Centenario, fresh muddled pineapple and campari. Mine paled in comparison: a simple glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

We talked:
Design, travel and the unique influences of Belize. These are some of the highlights…

Q: What are the biggest differences between working here in Central America versus the US?
A: It’s actually really liberating for me. Down here is a blank canvas and it feels like there’s a lot of room to play and experiment. There’s such a rich local and regional culture and history, which means you can find inspiration everywhere. Belize in particular has such a varied and diverse feel from one town to the next that it really allows for a very eclectic but cool feel.

Design in Belize by Samuel Amoia

Q: You’ve worked in Nicaragua at Tribal Hotel, and now you’re here in Belize. Yet in between you’re working in big urban environments, with clients like Stella McCartney and the DeLorenzo Gallery. How do you handle jumping from one extreme to the other?
A: I’m fortunate that I don’t have to take on a project that doesn’t interest and inspire me. So whether it’s in New York or on a beach in Placencia, there always has to be an interesting opportunity to do something different, something more elevated. I enjoy the challenge of entering new destinations and exploring new opportunities, so I’m not sure I’d ever want to be solely working on one location. I’m a traveler at heart, it’s a passion for me, and I think like so many other New Yorkers, the allure of a beach in Belize is the perfect counter-balance to the city life.

Q: How would you describe the design style you’re bringing to Itz’ana?
A: I’ve described it as 1920s French deco meets Central American ethnic. When people see it, they’ll know. It’s very respectful of the location, its history and its natural environment, but with an blend of that early deco design. Itz’ana is all about contrasts that work so well together, and the design captures that with geometric shapes meeting heavy texture. Lots of heavy textures and washed out colors, a really timeless beach feel. So I often veer towards softer, more feminine colors on more masculine, geometric shapes.

Why Belize by Samuel Amoia

Q: What’s been the nicest surprise you’ve encountered on the project?
A: The sense of tradition that’s still alive down here has been really great to see. We’re working with some very small-scale suppliers who were in business long before I was born, and who still hand-make everything from start to finish. There’s so much to be said for that old-world process of creation that’s becoming a little less usual these days, and it’s been uplifting to be a part of.

The sense of tradition that Sam refers to is exactly why we chose Placencia as the home for our new property. Mixing local expertise with international taste is at the heart of what we do, and it’s even more incredible than Sam’s cocktail.


Limited ownership opportunities are available. Contact us today to become part of the Itz’ana family.

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