Kohsamui…..color me pink….or blue….or green….or….

By the Caribbean everything is very intense. The sounds, nature, the sea, the food and of course the colors.

People are not afraid of color, barely follow “color charts” or think too much about it….and that is awesome!

At Kohsamui, all the walls were left white to showcase the beauty of the natural woods and the “techo de paja” roof,  but signature colors were used all around to define public areas and to give each guest room its distinctive personality.

Orange. The color of enthusiasm and creativity was used in the reception desk and the stairway leading to the second floor. Great karma and good vibes upon arrival.

Yellow channels  optimism and happiness, and was used in the second floor’s main social area and in one of the  guest rooms.

Pink, the color of universal love is featured in the main suite. This is Latin or “Soacha” Pink, so the “universal love” is quite intense and works really well surrounded by white.

Green evokes nature and fertility. The perfect color choice to compliment the “lata” walls and the exotic-slices-of-wood-sconces from another suite.

In another guest room, blue, the coolest color, brings the outdoors into your space.

Neutrals, raw materials and tons of crude white and blue accents create a cozy yet relaxing environment at the KOI SPA. The perfect balance to take in the perfect views and let your worries fade away.

For XIXI, the 1st floor restaurant, all the Kohsamui colors were used. The simple and practical parsons tables and benches were made in white but the colorful cushions and lamp edge details bring the whole room together.

But of course what demands all your attention is the Caribbean and its ever changing capability of creating new hues every time you look at it.

The beaches in Cartagena are over crowded and filled with people chasing you trying to sell you some ugly crafty thing or cheap sun glasses…….none of that in here, where it is only the ocean, the sky and you…… and a delish watermelon juice!

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kohsamui :: let it be lights!

One of my favorite things to do is making lamps. You can make a lamp pretty much out of anything if you know basic wiring and and have some common sense.

For Kohsamui Cartagena, all the custom fixtures were made out of local materials, found objects or items available at the market.

The main rooms feature a series of lamps made from birdcages from Bazurto, the famously dangerous bazar in Cartagena. We went there with Agustin -our lovely assistant to purchase the cages. After leaving he said……you had no idea how dangerous that was…..i just did not say anything…….. and he is a local.

To create these fixtures, recycled cotton was woven into the metal bars of the delicate cages to create the shade. To add a touch of color, a band of fabric was placed at the bottom edge of the fixture.

We hang them from a stripe of  “lata wood” leaving the wires exposed.

I love how the one on top of the reception area looks. It was placed quite low, very close to the surface making it very sculptural. It compliments perfectly the colorful facing and the “lata” detail of the custom built desk.

Same idea but a different color scheme was used on the second floor. where the color edge was kept very simple.

In one of the bedrooms, “slices” of exotic wood were wired and used as wall sconces creating  super groovy eco friendly pieces.

A set of recycled metal fish were made for one of the bedrooms by a local artisan and then painted white making them very sleek. The white on white effect is modern.

For the Rosa room, a very modern built-in fixture was created as part of the headboard. The contrast between the fixture and the colorful fabrics and wood detailing is very sleek.

Two of my favorite lighting solutions at the hotel. An incredible antique wood churn, probably used originally  for preparing arepas was hung upside down and made into a ceiling fixture.

Jesus, a local fisherman that makes the best knots ever,  created a way to keep it in place while showcasing his incredible talents.

The ceiling fixture at the stairway connecting  the first and second floors was treated as a boat sail. While all the walls are covered in “lata”, the ceiling features a fabric fixture that produces a very soft light and adds a soft element of intrigue to the small space.

At night, the effect from the private beach is great. Indirect lighting against the rough palm ceilings create the perfect background for a soft yet inviting set of  fixtures that shimmer all around, creating separate spaces while offering a cohesive warm look around Kohsamui.

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Design on a Dime 2011. The Metropolitan Pavilion. NYC. May 5.

For the 3rd consecutive year Luis Caicedo is proud to participate in Design on a Dime, benefiting housing Works.

This year’s vignette was about reading and recycling. The green walls color was chosen to create a vibrant background. Modern custom pieces -based on books or papers              were created to compliments a collection of vintage objects and unique artwork.

To compliment the vintage distressed wood and woven cane chairs, a very whimsical “pile of newspapers” table created. It took many days to hand-cut and weave the base. All the recycled newspaper came from 9th avenue between 42nd and 57th street in Manhattan. The glass top table was placed on an electric blue cow hide donated by Cow Blu.

The very clever custom zig-zag woven aluminum and wood hinged console can be modified to your specific need by changing the position of the screws and is available from Luis Caicedo.

The artwork was made from vintage pieces of various origins put together. The back lady comes from Chicago, while the front lady was found near times square few weeks ago.  The mid-century coat hangers are a very clever way to display the altered paintings.

The huge wall unit was created by recycling these huge book back that were used during fashion week last year. To create a balance between quirky and luxurious, silk and linen were used to upholster the pieces.

To add texture to the setting, few vintage pieces were added. The vintage chairs were distressed to create a nice contract with the walls.

Gold leaf vintage wall sconces add a touch of glam against the walls.

And a one-of -a-kind metal mesh fixture was created.

Form more information about Design on a Dime or Housing Works, please visit their website.


for more information about Luis Caicedo or any of these pieces, please visit


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the hotel :: Kohsamui

The building is completely hand-made and is constructed(with few needed exceptions) of natural materials found in the region and using local work force. Few elements were store bought and made of materials that resist the saltiness from the ocean.

The lines are quite simple, unassuming and based on traditional worker’s or country side dwellings found in the tropics…a “rancho de paja” as it is known in Colombia. The roof is made of dried coconut leaves put together and woven tightly. Because of the humidity and the heat, and to take much needed advantage of the breeze, most of the building is outdoors so to speak. only the bedrooms, restrooms and kitchen are enclosed.

The floors, stairs and wood structures made from recycled leftovers from other projects. Lata, a palm tree that produces a delicious fruit (and therefore an great juice) was used everywhere. Lata is a perfect renewable sustainable material that grows wildly around town. I love how it looks and we were able to create many artifacts and walls out of it.

The town is almost as primitive as it can be, taking into consideration it is the 21st century already.

The sources of its people are very limited so the dwellings are quite simple but colorfully decorated.

The idea behind the hotel was to create a simple yet sophisticated environment that blends well with its surroundings while creating the perfect space to spend time at the ocean, eat some of the best food you have ever had, or just relax and be yourself……

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kohsamui cartagena

When I used to live in Colombia we rarely visited Cartagena the Indias, but lately  I have been working in this little gem of a hotel in a fisherman’s town nearby,  reason why I find myself often in this part of the world.

Cartagena per se,  is actually as magical as you think it is. The new part is a poor man’s version of a modern city (poor being arguable, unless you thing a US$3.000.000 penthouse is a bargain), but the old and more popular areas of town are just incredible. Being in Cartagena reminds me of some of the places I love the most in the world, like India or Asia…….but in the Caribbean………and in Spanish.

Manzanillo del mar, where Kohsamui is located, is an ancient fisherman’s town located 20 minutes outside the old city. It is so small,  it does not even have a main square or the best infrastructure. I think only 900 people or so  live in there.

Why do I love it so much? well, people are incredibly simple yet totally happy. Someone may say that they are poor or that such lifestyle is not acceptable, but up to a point I may have to disagree with that statement. The people in this town want to fish, spend time with their families and enjoy life as it comes. No high frustations or unhappiness from unfulfilled personal expectations.

After flying from a city like NYC, Bogota or even Cartagena, spending time in Manzanillo del mar is one of my favorite things to do. The sound of the ocean, the tropical light, the food and people’s smiles and sense of humor, makes this an unforgettable experience.

Like in most parts of the world, progress is coming fast around Manzanillo. Designer golf clubs, multi-million dollar dwellings, gated condos and shopping malls are dotting the landscape rapidly.

If you feel that you deserve to spend some time in a town that is raw, primitive and quite real, where the sound of the ocean and music from the tropics is your soundtrack and you want to enjoy incredible food and maybe some drinks under the stars at night right on the ocean, you must find yourself at Kohsamui.

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Going “entre las tiendas” to Ulaan Bataar…….

One of the expressions I love the most in “Colombian” – entre las tiendas – meaning taking the long route somewhere, applies perfectly to this trip on my way to Ulaan Bataar.

Impossible to rent a bike this time around, I walked and walked. I love NYC, but Downtown LA is truly stealing my heart with its old school “Manhattan” vibe and the most amazing buildings ever.

Yesterday A.M, had a private tour of the LACMA, courtesy of a dear friend of mine. The new Renzo Piano building and its 3 offerings, where amazing. The paper wigs on the fashion show are quite something.

Lunch followed by a lovely stroll thru the Japanese pavilion with old friends.

The day finished with a performance of Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet at the Disney Hall.

I love LA and all its weird beauty, wild foliage, Pollo Loco in every corner and design there is all over the place.

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Biking in Beijing.

On my way to China and Mongolia for 3 weeks.

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