In this villa, time and space merge to explore the complex relationship between architecture, nature and landscape and to define the living experience. The design embraces the wind-sculpted boulders, making them a visual landmark, and elements of surprise and everyday life are injected into the relationship between architecture and the sea, which is a stone’s throw away. The living space emerges from the interaction between the elegant clarity of the project axes and the perspectives produced by the combination of different, constantly changing sensations that add to this rich experience.
The bright, sharp colours, used for interiors and exteriors, contribute to building a dynamic perception, with subtle distinctions. Hues help identify, define and "suggest" space and time as well as bringing together different living dimensions, in a sequence of elements that range across indoors, outdoors, light and air.
The architectural rationale achieves almost poetical representation that practically mediates between the smooth, solid density of matter and the impalpability of the atmosphere, creating a perfect combination of suggestions in a compact whole. The key aspect of this design is multiple creativity, producing visual axes that are mirrored across the villa - even on the lines of the floors - and that mould the living areas into a genuinely organic body that even encompasses the exterior.
Indoor and outdoor sections are connected in a variety of ways. A small internal gravel courtyard ‘links’ the house to the sky and the clouds, introducing a vertical dimension. Other correlations also coexist at the same time, for instance, the small courtyard is bordered by glazed walls to expand the visual axis that stretches across the villa right to the external ‘platform’ practically on the sea. The courtyard is a physical and visual focal point for the building. It is central to the layout of the corridors, but also draws the gaze and thus determines the perception of space dividing the kitchen/dining area from the large sea-facing living room next to the two bedrooms.
The dining area, reached through a sliding door, extends outwards under the overhanging roof. This is like a geometrical veil of light material that expands the eating area right up to the boulders, taking in the sea view. The perimeter of the villa is marked by grand, high impact shapes, such as the beams that form the sturdy pergolas that merge with the architectural volumes and project almost solid shadows onto the walls and external surfaces, interacting with the array of solar colours. The geometrical shapes define and create dynamism. The vertical slits in the walls are parallel to the tall, narrow windows, while the horizontal dimension is emphasised by the large glazed doors, the pergola beams, and the long shelf running along the wall, just by the entrance.
The solid walls and visual perspectives interact with the landscape, which is gradually unveiled in a crescendo of surprise, clearly revealing an elegant design that combines natural shapes, space and time.
Location: Porto Rafael, Sardegna
Gross Floor Area: 148,57 m2
Architects: Susanna Nobili Architettura
Contractor: ARA Costruzioni
Landscape: Monique Pelegry
Models: Andrea De Carli
Photography: © Luigi Filetici, courtesy of SNA
Susanna Nobili Architettura
Susanna Nobili began her career while still at university at the practice of Pier Luigi Nervi. She graduated in Rome in 1976.
In 1984, she designed four mixed residential and office buildings in Guatemala City, which included the new records office of the Italian Embassy. In 1990, together with Constantino Dardi, she was responsible for the restoration and functional conversion of Palazzo Poli and the Calcografia Nazionale in Rome, which became the new premises of the National Graphic Art Museum, including exhibit design and the colour scheme. In 1992, with Gae Aulenti, she designed the renovation of the Museum of Energy in Rome. Together with Piero Sartogo and Nathalie Grenon, in 1993 she won the national competition for the new records office of the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C. The building, completed in 2000, received numerous awards.
In 2008, she participated in the third Architecture Biennale in Beijing. In the same year, she took on the role of lecturer in the master’s degree in interior design at IED in Rome.
Highlights among her major urban planning, industrial design, and public architecture projects include the redevelopment of brownfield sites along the Ospedaletti–San Lorenzo al Mare section of the Genoa-Ventimiglia railway; the central gallery of the Italian pavilion at Expo ’92 in Seville (with Piero Sartogo); the design of the Puvis de Chavannes exhibition at Musée de Picardie in Amiens (winning design); the design of the photography exhibition Il Secolo dell’Avvocato-Gianni Agnelli, una Vita Straordinaria held at the Vittoriano in Rome, the Mole Antonelliana in Turin, and Palazzo della Ragione in Milan.