WORDS Amelia Brown PHOTOS Adam Letch
SAOTA has once again shown the architecture and design firm’s ability to maximise site and location in a striking, contemporary package – this time on the French Riviera.
The modern four-bedroom holiday home is named “Le Pine” for the glade of pine trees that borders the long, narrow plot and that went on to inform the design. “When we first went onto the site, we found it lovely that you could look up into the pine forest and experience those amazing volumes under the canopies of the pines,” says SAOTA director Stefan Antoni. “That became an important cue when we developed the design.”
Cavity doors and strategically positioned apertures, including clerestory and frameless windows, amplify the sense of space, let in natural light and give glimpses of the pines and surrounding greenery, which contextualises the house in its setting. The intention was to create a gallery‐type interior space – clear open areas lit from above. “Wherever we could, we tried to drop light into the volumes,” explains Phillippe Fouché, SAOTA director and lead architect on the project.
He continues, “Our first objective was to try to maximise the perception of space. We did that by creating generous outdoor covered spaces, which make it feel as if the interiors spill outwards and extend to the front of the site.” The property is set back on the plot, focusing the living spaces and pool in the centre between two double-storey wings.
There’s an easy flow in the main living and entertainment areas, which are located beneath a dramatically folded floating roof. Formed using raw wooden planks that reference the pines, its gentle undulation contrasts the building’s clean lines and geometry. Structurally, the roof enables a 12 m span without any columns.
Another SAOTA signature is the bold use of natural materials to dramatic effect. With Le Pine, raw concrete contrasts dark, luxurious marble cladding on the rear walls and vein‐cut travertine floors.
There’s a mastery of physics and materiality at play: One ascends to the front door on floating platforms suspended in the garden. The entrance sets the tone for the other gravity-defying Tetris pieces and the striking application of a contemporary architectural vernacular to produce light, open, intuitive interiors that have a fluid relationship with the exterior for easy indoor-outdoor holiday living.