Olo Be Lodge or the “Lodge of the Wise Old Man”
A remarkable creation that only fools or geniuses could have considered.
It took blind courage and a great vision to try this feat.
Andavadoaka: “The hole in the rock”
At the western end of the African island of Madagascar.
After a trip by plane, a 4 × 4 trip on the track along the coast and through the baobab forest, we enter the flamboyant hall of Olo Be Lodge and from the terrace, we are facing the powerful rock with a vast hole that stands majestically in the middle of the bay.
The owner, Jules LeClezio, the architect / designer Bruno Decorte, the builder Antonello and the Manager, Estelle forms the heroic team that has all concocted. Today, everything works perfectly with the help of a team of 50 employees recruited in the region.
A great journey begins with great vision
In the early 90’s, Jules Le Clezio went to the desert of Mikea in Madagascar, in search of sand and minerals. The topography reminded him of the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where large deposits of iron are being exploited, as well as other resources such as precious ilmenite extracted from heavy mineral-sands ore deposits. Working with an Australian geologist, they explored the area for years and eventually found it – enough to justify the establishment of a mining operation. In the years that it took to launch it, Jules slowly fell in love with this beautiful and remote region and its open and attractive inhabitants. And when he arrived on the promontory between the vast bay of Andavadoaka and the smaller one on the other side, he knew he had found his new home. All he had to do was build it.
He began by building a house just for himself, then rooms for friends to visit. And wondering, maybe it could be a hotel … But, it should be something that enhances and does not mask the natural beauty of the location.
He asked his friend the Belgian designer and manufacturer, Bruno Decorte, creator of the fabulous production Bakuba in Tulear, to come take a look.
Another friend, the builder Antonello, soon followed. Then Estelle joined them to manage what had become a real and gigantic project.
The designer, Bruno Decorte, grew up in what was then called the Belgian Congo, where his father was a bush pilot.
Bruno had a natural talent for design. He left Africa to deepen his knowledge and develop his talent in Europe, where he finally created his own restaurants and hotel in Portugal.
The call to return home, Africa, its wildlife, has proved irresistible.
Just like the will to design and create.
In Tulear, Bruno designed and built a beautiful hotel-restaurant – BAKUBA Lodge – which attracts the traveler in search of discoveries. A place that has become a must for its relaxed atmosphere, good food and architecture.
When Jules took him to the Andavadoaka site, he was inspired by his isolation and his perfect appearance. He was determined to give him justice, to avoid any suspicion of cliché, to create not only a place of life, but also a place that shows how to live there.
The style is very Decorte – authentic African, with a touch of Gaudi and Lord of the Rings, whimsical details that surprise and delight.
This is not a building in which you live. You interact with him, you respond to his flow and his curves, you explore his nooks and you always discover some details or sudden change of mood.
In this building located at the extreme west of this vast island, you feel like in another world.
And there you are.