Why Maldives’ Fari Islands Are the Ultimate Bucket List Spot!

The Fari Islands developer achieved zero-carbon-ready certification with mass timber!

Wed 27 Dec 23


Pontiac Land Private Limited is one of the only holiday destinations to achieve EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification for its Fari Islands Maldives resort, and that’s no small feat!

The Fari Islands development is the first in Asia to achieve ‘zero carbon ready’, with villas and amenities designed to support renewable energy sources and minimise carbon footprint.

One of the reasons for this impressive feat is their use of mass timber, an alternative to traditional building materials like concrete and steel.

This material is more efficient to transport and assemble, significantly reducing carbon emissions in production and transportation compared to traditional building materials.

EDGE meets MET construction

To achieve EDGE certification, buildings must meet specific criteria around supporting renewable energy sources and minimising carbon footprint.

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Mass timber, along with one of the largest solar installations in the Maldives (>2MW), was instrumental in achieving EDGE certification. (Photo credit: Pontiac Land Group).

Mass timver has been a major driving force in reducing carbon emissions by over 6,000 tonnes after production and transportation.

Additionally, 20,000 mature trees were transplanted from neighbouring Maldivian islands that were being cleared for development, promoting sustainable architecture and design.

About the Fari Islands
A view to the Ritz Carlton Hotel, one of the hospitality brands on the island. (Photo Credit: Ritz Carlton, Maldives)

The Fari Islands in the North Malé Atoll of the Maldives offer a unique resort experience that celebrates the natural environment and artisanal craftsmanship. 

Anchored by three world-class hospitality brands (including the Ritz-Carlton), the archipelago is only a 50-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport. 

The picturesque Fari Marina, featuring the vibrant Fari Beach Club, boutique shops, and a selection of upscale food and beverage options, complements the resort’s serene and social atmosphere. 

The resort truly is a destination for the bucket list.

Local Sourcing and Certified Timber

One of the biggest challenges faced by the developers was sourcing certified timber in the Maldives, which lacks a timber industry. 

To overcome this, the development team worked with Double Helix Tracking Technologies to trace the origin of the timber used in the project and ensure it was PEFC-certified

Double Helix used DNA testing to verify the trees’ species and ensure the timber was harvested from legal and sustainable sources.

The company also worked with the Maldivian government to develop a national timber tracking system to help prevent illegal logging and promote sustainable forestry practices.

Introducing the ‘Skyspace’ – which includes a 400 sqm free span roof with razor-sharp soffits and a 16-sq-m hole in its middle, which presented a challenge. It was judged that timber would weather the corrosive marine environment better than steel. (Photo credit: Global Construction Review).

Marco den Ouden, General Manager of Patina Maldives, one of the hotels in the Fari Islands development, praised the use of PEFC-certified timber in the project, “It was important for us to ensure that the timber we used was not only sustainably sourced but that it also helped support the local communities in the Maldives. By partnering with Double Helix, we achieved this goal and created a truly sustainable resort.”

Introducing ‘Skyspace’ – an icon in the sands

The Fari Islands development also includes other sustainable features, such as a zero-carbon-ready solar installation and mass-engineered timber in iconic structures like the Skyspace Maldives installation. 

Created by American artist James Turrell, Skyspace Maldives is a gravity-defying masterpiece made entirely of engineered timber. The design called for a 400-square-metre free-span roof with a 16-square-meter hole in the middle, with no visible beams or columns.

This is not the first project for Venturer Timberwork in the Maldives. In 2015, Venturer Timberwork constructed a Glulam Observation Tower for St Regis Hotel—footage courtesy of @venturersg. Wood Central recently covered Venturer Timberwork’s striking Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery mass timber facade.

To bring the art installation to life, Venturer Timberwork worked with award-winning architect Marcio Kogan to create a solution where each trellis member was assigned a corresponding roof member, and the trellis was reinforced with a longitudinal timber edge beam and continuous longitudinal wedge.

 The resulting solution was more efficient than composite or steel regarding structural performance, visual aesthetic, and the client’s budget. Marco den Ouden, General Manager of Patina Maldives, one of the hotels in the Fari Islands development, praised the use of PEFC-certified timber in the project, saying, “The use of engineered timber was a conscious decision to ensure that Skyspace was not only visually stunning but also sustainable.”

In total, the Fari Islands have reduced carbon emissions by over 6,000 tonnes after production and transportation – resulting in the island being recognised as one of the most eco-tourist destinations on earth!

The ‘Skyspace’ installation is a prime example of mass-engineered timber construction at work, using PEFC-certified timber tracked through Double Helix DNA testing to create a visually striking and eco-friendly structure.

The installation demonstrates how innovative design, sustainable materials, and careful engineering can be combined to create a work of art that is visually stunning and environmentally responsible.


  • Ken Hickson

    Ken Hickson is a journalist/editor/author with 60 years' experience in Media in Asia Pacific, with a strong focus on sustainable forestry, mass engineered timber, and drawing attention to deforestation, illegal logging, and out of control forest fires. He is also a Wood Central Southeast Asia contributor.


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