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Meet Anomien Smith: Luxury Frontiers Director inspired by childhood memories in the African wilderness

Introducing Anomien Smith, Director of Architectural and Interior Design at Luxury Frontiers and the visionary woman behind many of our most notable projects including Camp Sarika by Amangiri.

Anomien leads a diverse team of architects, interior designers, and visualization artists, overseeing both our Lead Architect and our Senior Interior Designer and their respective teams. Anomien’s leadership style empowers her team members by instilling confidence in themselves and encouraging everyone to contribute to the outcome of a project. Architectural prowess aside, Anomien’s success is attributed in large part to her natural propensity to build strong relationships with team members, suppliers, and anyone else essential to a project’s success.

Anomien’s passion for sustainable design and architecture stems from a deep love of the wilderness, influenced by her childhood growing up near South Africa’s Kruger National Park. At a young age, Anomien developed an enormous respect for nature, enjoying camping trips, safaris, and other outdoor adventures with her family. At the age of eight, she went on her first overland wilderness safari in Botswana, cementing her love for exploration. At the age of sixteen, Anomien took part in an exciting four-day journey down the Orange River, exposed to harsh and freezing cold weather conditions. These adventurous getaways shaped Anomien’s future, and she understood from a young age that these were far from normal summer holidays to most. Her experiences with nature taught her to relish in the magic of getting to know the unknown, hear the unsaid, and notice the invisible.

Today, Anomien approaches each new project with the same sentiment, using her intuition and familiarity with the African wilderness to envisage hidden design elements and placing the environmental context at center stage. For example, when designing Puku Ridge in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, Anomien drew inspiration from termite mounds, a prominent feature in the African landscape, and incorporated starbeds, outdoor beds on top of the accommodation structure where guests can experience the undisturbed night sky.

Puku Ridge, photo by Scott Ramsay
Puku Ridge, photo by Scott Ramsay

In alignment with Anomien’s personal values, Luxury Frontiers uses design principles that aim to celebrate pristine environments with minimal human disruption, allowing opportunities for nature to reinstate itself. In fact, Anomien finds great joy in visiting a site after a period of time post project completion to see how nature has re-established itself to coexist with her designs.

Anomien’s vivid imagination and fun outlook on life give her the edge to place the experience of a location at the forefront of any design. Camp Sarika by Amangiri was masterfully designed to connect guests with the magnificent surroundings of the southern Utah desert at all times, especially from inside the structure. The view from inside every structure is regarded as the fourth wall, with sight-lines purposefully designed to protect the view from all angles.

Photo by Aman Resorts
Photo by Aman Resorts

Though she provides the initial direction, Anomien is humbly astonished how projects are formed and shaped at brainstorming sessions, where everyone in the team contributes ideas.  In fact, the idea to build the camp at Mdluli Safari Lodge around a tree stemmed from one such meeting of the minds under the same tree, a tradition which is strongly inherent in the culture of the area’s local people and of surrounding tribes.

Photo by Mdluli Safari Lodge
Photo by Mdluli Safari Lodge

Throughout her career with Luxury Frontiers, Anomien has traveled around the world and has been the driving force behind some of our most impactful projects. An incredible leader, mother of two, architect, and environmental advocate, Anomien brings her passion for sustainability and comfortability in nature to every project.

Through the incredible projects that Luxury Frontiers consults on and develops all over the world, work requires Anomien to travel to the remotest locations across the globe. It is in these havens, with her feet firmly on the ground – literally and figuratively – where she feels most at home.