SAG’80 designs the interiors of a family refuge in the south of France
Villa Varoise is located in an agricultural land in the south-east of France, on a hill of olive trees, pines and vineyards. We are near the city of Ramatuelle, in the Var area which is the meeting point between Provence and the French Riviera, knr4own for its natural beauty and more than 80 museums. Among the wonders of this region are Saint-Tropez, Hyeres and the Port Cros National Park. A dream landscape in which every built construction must comply with strict guidelines in respect of the context and traditions, in terms of geometries, materials and construction processes.
The natural beauty, the history of the site and its morphology represent the starting point for the villa project. The area was once inhabited by peasants who cultivated fruit, olives and wine grapes and today it hosts numerous villas, even quite close to each other. Hence the need of the client's family to build a refuge capable of accommodating up to 22 people and to guarantee privacy and protection but, at the same time, to offer the surrounding landscape to the view.
Many of the living spaces of this house are outdoors and take advantage of different views: moments of sharing and openness alternate with more protected and private places. The architecture of the house extends into the landscape, preserves it and frames the passage spaces.
The two-storey structure of rough concrete appears as an almost impenetrable monolith, an extrusion similar to the stone of the rocky slope that anchors it, capable of responding to the demands of the site, where it fits with safety and harmony. But the building is much more permeable than it first appears, with full-height glass walls, strategic openings framing verdant vistas, consistent finishes inside and out, and a red-tiled roof supported by shallow vaults that guarantee strong stability. The project establishes a close relationship between residence and landscape, its angular shape is a calculated response to the key aspects of the site, the strict zoning guidelines, the slope of the land, the surrounding vineyard and olive grove.
Rather closed and compact towards the outside, it turns its solid walls to its neighbors, opening onto its private side with windows overlooking the landscape and the courtyard, where the swimming pool extends. A vehicle for capturing the external environment by bringing it inside the building, the courtyard is an architectural element of reflection of excellence. The courtyard, protected and open, offers simultaneous interior and outdoor accomplishing the slope of the site reveals itself beyond the monumental vaulted threshold. The vault is a striped surface that mediates between the geometry of the supporting staircase, the swimming pool and the living areas above. Visitors enter the site from a driveway to the north, where the house's massive concrete mass, with its cantilevered prow at the northeast corner, is to their left side.
The main level, as the upper floor, hosts the primary living spaces that develop in line along the west side of the complex with the main entrance, the master bedroom and an office to the north. All the rooms open directly onto the courtyard and the large swimming pool. The lower level is nestled into the hillside with six bedrooms that open along the east and south sides of the house, while a family room occupies the corner of the L-shaped floor plan. The long corridors of the bedrooms are illuminated by ethereal daylight from windows that look into the pool water. With the rough concrete walls, complex circulation paths and bold structure, Villa Varoise may seem like a monumental composition, which offers decidedly human-sized spaces inside.
Local aggregates were used for the composition of the concrete, which transmit a subtle orange hue similar to that of the surrounding earth color. The walls between the lower-level bedrooms are characterized by a thickness that ensures sound proof and provides greater structural support. On the outside, these walls become thinner, becoming on the east facade, the glazed one, a thin columnar order.
The project is designed by the NADAA architecture studio, together with the associated architects Bidard & Raissi, while the interiors were created with the consultancy of Corso Europa team. The result is an architecture that perfectly integrates landscape, materials, geometries and finishes inside and out. Most of the interior walls are concrete, with some areas finely paneled in natural oak. Entirely made to measure, the boiserie and covering panels, supplied by Porro, make the rooms of the house warm and welcoming, while hiding the service spaces, transforming into real wardrobes. Everything is perfectly calibrated, thanks also to the skilful coordination of suppliers and professionals. The furnishings, including those for the outdoors, have been carefully selected in full respect of the atmosphere recreated by the designers: an elegant mimesis in the nature of the place.