Minimalist paradise floating over the jungle

Nestled into the lush tropical hillside above Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa beach, Atelier Villa’s 26-metre long prism seems almost to levitate over the jungle below.

Blending into its environment was certainly high on the to-do list for the Czech architectural team at Formafatal, headed by Dagmar Štěpánová. Designed as a private home along with two other guest villas, the project was all about minimalism and purity.

“The first and foremost priority is not only the idea of ‘erasing boundaries between interior and exterior’ but also highlighting constructional simplicity and pure lines (pura vida = pura arquitectura),” Dagmar explains.

That boundary between inside and out can be, if desired, almost completely erased, thanks to lightweight sliding partition walls, leaving the whole space feeling more like a covered terrace than an interior. And with views like these, who wanted to “live outside”?

The layout of the home sees the practical spaces – kitchen, bathrooms, utility room and storage – along the back wall, with living spaces able to soak up the air, views and gorgeous infinity pool at the front.

“Discreet wall colours in combination with the green roof allow the villa to really blend in with its surroundings,” Dagmar explains. “The ocean and jungle-oriented façades are fitted with large-size aluminium perforated sections which a) don’t heat up in the sun and b) are rust-resistant… [and] they double as canopies.

“The scale and pattern of perforation is different on each of the sections,” she adds, “creating an exciting play of light and shadow inside.” 

Inside, the palette feels warm and earthy, with concrete walls and floors juxtaposing beautifully with custom furniture made from teak and Brazilian nut tree. The entire back wall is clad in charred timber treated with ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ which is a traditional Japanese technique used to age- and weather- treat the wood.

“All of the furnishings, apart from the lounge and dining chairs, are tailor-designed for this villa and custom-made,” Dagmar says. Commissioned in the area, most was made with the help of local craftsmen, though some components were custom-made in the the architect’s home country (Czech Republic) and transported to the site.

“As for the Czech manufacturers, we decided to opt for the renowned Czech glass-making company Bomma and their Shibari lights that go hand in hand with the overall tropical feel of the interiors.”

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