Ashemi, Azure Star – click any image for full size
Over the weekend of November 26th/27th, Caitlyn and I were delighted to receive an invitation from Shaman Nitely to visit Ashemi, a new homestead region he has designed together with Ime and Jay Poplin (Jayshamime). Having been enthralled by their work with Imesha back at the start of 2016 (see my article here), we were only to pleased to accept and hop across.
Ashemi is another slice of the modern orient set under an evening sky (although I recommend setting a night-time windlight to really capture the feel of the design). It carries within it shades of Imesha, but is an entirely separate and unique design. Visitors arrive towards the middle of the region, where sit three wooden platforms standing over the calm waters of a circular lake. All three form a set of artificial islands connecting two tongues of land extending towards one another from opposite sides of the lake’s edge.
Surrounding this lake, and towering over it, is an impressive, neon-lit skyline of a great metropolis. Giant skyscrapers rise into the sky, faces lit from within or by the reflected light of their neighbours. Huge advertising signs hang from some, adding to the cacophony of colour, while gaps between them reveal more buildings further away, or contain older and smaller buildings, survivors of from some pre-skyscraper era.
It’s a remarkable sight; one as immediately engaging as that of Imesha. Looking around, I couldn’t help but be struck by the way in which part of the build took me back to standing on the deck of a Star Ferry, watching Hong Kong’s waterfront skyline at night. Other will doubtless be put in mind of Japan’s neon-lit streets, while in places sits the look and feel of the icons advertising and streets from the likes of Bladerunner and Total Recall 2070.
All of the platforms all offer places to sit and admire the surroundings, with lanterns and lamps offering gentle lighting both on the walkways and floating on the water, and all watched over by both a protective dragon and an Indonesian Buddha-like figure. However, a visit isn’t restricted to this central area: visitors can follow the platforms to the tongues of land mentioned above, and thence up onto the cobbles of the streets and walkways surrounding the lake. Here, lit by waterfront street lamps casting soft pools of cyan light, if a world of market stalls and boutique shops and businesses.
This is where the magic of Ashemi is further revealed. The great skyscrapers sit beyond the region’s edges, but a huge amount of care has been taken to blend cobbled streets and squares, shops are car parking areas, with both the on-sim and off-sim areas. So much so that it’s sometimes impossible to realise you’ve actually reached the edge of the region until you start bouncing against the boundary; it’s as if you could wander the cobbles into the distance and so find your way onto the paved streets which must surely sit like canyon floors between the towering fingers of concrete and glass.
Walking thee streets, you’ll pass locals and be encouraged to entire some of the boutique shops – although again, not all are actually within the boundaries of the region, so do expect to reach them all! And when you feel in need of a rest, the wooden platforms await your return, sofas, and couches offering plenty of places to sit and chat or cuddle, low tables offering drinks and food, blossom drifting on the breeze.
I’ve little doubt that anyone who visited Imesha will be similarly impressed with Ashemi, and should you drop in, please consider a consideration towards the region’s upkeep at one of the donation jars.
- Ashemi (Azure Star, rated: Moderate)