WORDS Michaela Stehr PHOTOS Dook
Blending into its surrounds, this ultra-contemporary villa exudes African flair with uninterrupted views of the Klein River Lagoon and the neighbouring mountains.
“A sense of arrival” is the feeling you get when you step inside Perivoli Lagoon House, says architect Gregg Goddard about this contemporary villa. Designed as an exclusive retreat available for rent, the villa features four double suites with private bathrooms and individual terraces, connected by large living spaces.
“The approach route was carefully selected and cut through the forest, and very much intended to add to the mystique and expectancy associated with a winding narrow road that leads to an unfamiliar destination,” Gregg explains. “Breaking out of the imposing forest, and being confronted by the splendour of the building against a dramatic backdrop of mountains and wide expanse of inland water, heightens that exhilarating sense of arrival.”
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As the structure is set in 140 hectares of indigenous fynbos, maintaining a low impact and integrating it into the landscape was front of mind during design and construction between 2018 and late 2019. Gregg’s brief was a building that would not draw attention to itself or stand out from the surrounding environment. Being prominently placed, and in full view of the mostly developed northern lagoon coastline, the challenge was to create a building with an architecture and style that would respond positively to its context and visually blend into the background. Gregg achieved this with attention to both architectural form and sympathetic use of materials, as well as detailing and a muted colour scheme.
“We placed the emphasis on providing a low-slung, horizontal structure, grounded on a slightly elevated and sensitively landscaped platform,” he says. “We paid special attention to the forested backdrop in the selection of charcoal-coloured timber cladding elements and movable screening devices in the make-up of the façades and the carefully selected final colouring of the roofscape. The undulating roof was floated over the building, and intended as a free-form element that picked up on the distant skyline of the hills to the south.”
The curved concrete roof mimics the Klein River mountains and limestone hills that are visible from almost every point in the majestic villa. A wrap-around deck was raised by two metres to preserve the life underneath and create an elevated vantage point for guests to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Integrating the outside areas with the inside living spaces was also front of mind when building, with expansive stacking doors allowing a divide or release into the outdoors.
Described by interior designer Simone Henckert as “understated African luxury”, the interiors are notably African-chic yet unpretentious, making use of wood (wooden flooring by Oggie), concrete, leather and textiles throughout the space, with rugs, tables, shelving and lights made by local designers exclusively for Perivoli. All art in the house is by South African artists, including Daniel Naudé, Deborah Bell and Zara Cassim. “The idea was to create a warm, inviting and tranquil space,” says Simone, “so it was important to use materials and products that are ethically sourced, and to support local craftsmen and designers.”
The communal deck and heated infinity pool invite lazy-day lounging with a book, or a gin and tonic made in-house by the attentive yet discreet staff. The villa is booked on an exclusive-use basis for up to eight people, with flexible options that include housekeeping, as well as a choice of all-inclusive or self-catering stays.
Not only nature-conscious but socially-minded as well, the Lagoon House is owned by the philanthropic Perivoli Trust, with all profits going to conservation and nursery-school children’s education in sub-Saharan Africa.