Client: Somium Properties
Architecture & Interior design: Monica Armani
Furniture: B&B Italia, Kff, Tribu & custom made by Monica Armani
Bathrooms: Cea, Flaminia, Jacuzzi
Finishings: Inalco, Schuco
Photo credits: Isaac Morelli
The rationalist glass structure is recessed and lies lightly on the ground without affecting the form of the surrounding nature, in the hills of the Las Colinas Golf Club, south of Alicante, and was made for Somium Properties. Called Morning Breeze Villa, “it’s a complete Monica Armani villa in which I took charge of everything from the architecture to the furnishings, up to the choice of plates and glasses, designing all the furniture and accessories,” says the architect who has been working for 30 years side by side with her husband Luca Dallabetta.
“This glass enclosure seeks to avoid altering the place’s natural quality and is integrated into the lay of the site’s land with cantilevered blocks four meters from the ground.” This is a place to be experienced especially outdoors to enjoy the mild Spanish climate and that morning breeze that inspired its name, Morning Breeze Villa. “It has private spaces and highly social areas for welcoming guests and enjoying the place surrounded by greenery with a breathtaking view of the swimming pool and then the sea.”
The villa is monumental, starting from its facade, a white rectangle with a 7.20-meter high door and “reeds” that make for a spectacular entrance: “In my projects, I often use front structures that create suspense. The facade here is like an installation, the power of a large white wall with spears soaring skywards, where the entrance is hidden by a white vertical blade that opens to welcome visitors.”
The experience starts from the entrance path, a membrane leading into an unexpected Eden: “No matter their size, my residential projects, are meant to become a destination. I try to create a grand little experience in reaching the home’s entrance. At Morning Breeze, the pedestrian path is in the midst of palm trees and creates a small journey into nature that prepares the senses for the impressive view on the entrance facade.”
The huge door opens electronically. Once inside, we are absorbed by the vastness of the space, “you feel very small when you are inside.” The building’s plan is not particularly large for such a home (400 square meters for the apartment, 215 square meters for the terraces, 160 square meters for the garages and accessory rooms), but it is majestic because of its double heights, fluid areas marked by dynamic, mobile divisions, including a curtain-skylight that wraps around the bedroom area on the mezzanine, and the continuous dialogue between inside/outside through the large windows: “Spatiality is a value that goes beyond size. It is meant to refresh the soul, excite us and make us dream.”
The central core is double-height overlooked by the mezzanine of the master bedroom, closed by a majestic sliding glass door that opens onto a sort of open space rendered a private, exclusive place. “The main volume is like a tower emerging on the skyline of the Las Colinas Golf Club, built on a rock spur. To the side of this, I envisioned two telescopic volumes, flying bridges towards the golf course, bounding the sides of the hill and making two squares from which the plant life emerges. These telescopic volumes hold two suites, which are two little worlds in their own right, affording unique views and visual sensations.”
On the underground level, there is a spa and relaxation area, with a Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, and 8-square-meter Jacuzzi whirlpool. From here the outdoor pool unexpectedly is glimpsed through two large aquarium windows with a very dramatic 55-square-meter pool, entirely glazed, which appears from the outside like a suspended square of emerald green water, even more beautiful at night when lit by LEDs.
“Thinking about a design for such an exclusive house, I wanted to create many souls for the place, and I believe this ensures an enduring value for such a grand property. Imagining the many ways of experiencing it, being able to rejoice in hosting and sharing the feelings that this villa inspires, working and creating in this place simply to rest and restore oneself, all with the possibility of alternating moments of conviviality and those of privacy, because of the layout and vertical connections that I designed.”
Nothing is left to chance: “We designed and chose everything ourselves, from the custom stone-effect ceramic surfaces made by Inalco, very bright, a sandy beige, to the dark champagne-colored window and door frames, the wooden staircase that starts out wide and then narrows on the landing to then open up again, the chandelier that we designed that descends with its spherical diffusers to light the living room-kitchen, and the outdoor furniture that I designed for Tribu and the Madison mirror for B&B Italia.”
This project embodies Monica Armani’s total philosophy: “I like to call my work ‘Design in molecules,’ because in my creative process I try to organize and bring into harmony a kind of ‘molecule’ that I determine for each architectural work. I combine my creativity and my visions with engineering, balancing aesthetics, and seeking the right degree of innovation while trying to create authentically lasting projects. I dialogue with nature, the lie of the land and the history of the place where I create my work.”