Malaysian designer wins US$100,000 to build coconut-inspired Airbnb

Malaysian designer wins US$100,000 to build coconut-inspired Airbnb

His winning ‘Coconut Drifting in the Sea’ design will be guest-ready by summer 2023, and will be a part of Airbnb’s OMG! Category

AS part of its US$10,000,000 (about RM44,000,000) OMG! Fund, Airbnb has picked Malaysian Muhammad Hakim Azly as one of 100 aspiring designers from 20 countries to bring their ideas to life.

Hakim’s winning idea, ‘Coconut Drifting in the Sea’, is a floating home located just off the shore of Langkawi’s Tanjung Rhu beach, it said in a statement.

With an exterior like an aged coconut, its husk and outer shell are designed to look like it is peeling. This lets light into the space, comprising a 250sqm bedroom equipped with a king-sized bed and large adjacent restroom. Its white, non-angular and continuous interior resemble the insides of a coconut.

Accessible by boat or kayak, guests can enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding islands.

Hailing from Perlis, Hakim’s passion for design stemmed from his early years having grown up in a home that his late grandfather built in Kangar. He fondly refers to the items in the house as being “ahead of their time in the 60s”.

He later grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey where he spent much of his youth painting large-scale murals before pursuing his studies in architecture.

“To me, architecture has always been more than an assembly of materials. It’s seeing the bigger picture, where the architect has the responsibility to measure every design decision and the purpose the finished object serves within the community.

“This has fuelled my passion for the discipline over the years, and is another reason why I’m incredibly excited over having this opportunity to create something truly unique and out-of-this-world,” said Hakim.

OMG! Fund winners Hakim Azly and Reena Sayra. Their idea was inspired by falling coconuts during a stroll on a beach. – Pic courtesy of Airbnb

Together with his wife, Reena, Hakim shared that inspiration for their winning idea struck during a stroll along the beach. Together, they decided to design a home inspired by a coconut drifting at sea. To them, it tells a story of enjoying one’s journey towards one’s unknown destination.

“The concept for the design brings a sense of adventure to the traveller. [They can] experience the fluctuations in weather, tide levels, and sun cycles the way a floating coconut out at sea would,” Hakim said.

“We’re also glad that we are able to build a 300sqm fish farm and coral nursery around our floating home as part of the OMG! Experience.”

Hakim said that their plans for fish and coral farming are aimed to replenish and mitigate the consumption of natural resources. These are often consumed to support the tourism industry.

This is not Hakim’s first experience with Airbnb, having been a Superhost in Seattle for over a year before returning to Langkawi. He now lives on the island with Reena, who is a full-time Airbnb Host of 10 units that her family built from scratch.

“We saw the opportunity and value in honouring a place rich with heritage and building a cause to be proud of, and ‘Coconut Drifting in the Sea’ is the result,” Hakim said.

Recipients of the OMG! Fund will each receive up to US$100,000 to make their fantastical creations possible. Over the course of the next 10 months, will design, construct and outfit their spaces to be guest-ready by summer 2023 – when you may find them available as part of Airbnb’s OMG! Category.

Interested in becoming an OMG! Host? Learn more at

source – The Vibes,

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