Left Speechless by Utah’s Amangiri

Designer Alfredo Paredes on canyons, Amangiri, and finding silence in a villa built by Rudolf Nureyev.



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Highly subjective takes on life's most interesting experiences.

What was your most surreal travel experience?

As a city dweller, having the opportunity to walk through the slot canyons in Utah is something I’ll never forget. I live amongst the manmade canyons in New York, so to experience these magnificent canyons formed by nature was especially surreal. I remember finding myself feeling very peaceful and emotional and very, very centered there — I think just from the recognition of how many thousands of years it had taken to form these amazing natural wonders.

What was a place that defied all of your expectations?

My first trip to the Amangiri resort in Utah left me speechless, and was one of those rare occasions when the actual hotel was more beautiful than the photos I'd seen. The location, its mesa setting, the way it was designed to blend seamlessly into nature, all left me speechless. In creating the resort, the architects clearly approached their task from the perspective of creating something that would disappear into the desert setting as opposed to announcing itself. It was the first time I’d been to an isolated setting where the architecture felt so at home and in harmony with the environment. It had a lasting impact on my own design aesthetic.

Where’s the quietest place you’ve been?

For years my husband and I and a number of our friends had the privilege of renting a large simple villa in St. Barts that was originally built by Rudolf Nureyev — at the time owned by an eccentric French woman. The house sits on the quiet windward side of the island, which at the time was sparsely populated, and it felt like you were a castaway on a deserted island. Its perch on cliffs overlooking the sea and the near invisibility from the road only enhanced the feeling. Between the secluded, quiet quality of the place and the constant ocean breezes blowing across the terrace and through the simple wood-frame structures, it was as peaceful and restorative a spot as I've ever known.



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Our Contributors

Alfredo Paredes

Alfredo Paredes is a multidisciplinary designer and founder of his eponymous New York–based design studio. Prior to founding his own practice, Paredes was the executive vice president and chief creative officer at Ralph Lauren for over three decades. Paredes is globally recognized for his rare ability to translate intangible experiences — a beloved memory, a stirring encounter with a work of art, an inspiring idea — into real and all-encompassing physical environments.

Joanna Neborsky Illustrator

Literary, frenetic, and bold, illustrator/animator Joanna Neborsky’s darkly humorous collage work has been featured in the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, and W magazine, and has attracted notice in Bookforum and the Paris Review. Her latest book, her own modern take on the Proust Questionnaire, was published in 2016. Neborsky lives in Los Angeles.


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