Blue Coast Villa - Roquebrune (F)

Neomodernism on the Côte d’Azur

In Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, three Italian architects have followed in the footsteps of Eileen Gray and Le Corbusier in their design for a villa that stands as a manifesto for both essential architecture and the use of ceramic materials
Riccardo Bianchi
Aldo Amoretti
Calvi Ceschia Viganò Architetti Associati
Year of completion

The municipality of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on the Côte d’Azur is an ode to Modernist architecture and home to numerous buildings created by the great architects of the 20th century, most notably Villa E-27 designed by Eileen Gray and Le Corbusier’s Cabanon. So it was hardly a coincidence that when architects Marco Calvi, Gaetano Ceschia and Andrea Viganò were commissioned to design a villa perched on the rugged hillside above the sea, they drew inspiration from Le Corbusier and openly quoted the words written by the great master in 1923 in his book Towards a New Architecture: “The Architect, by his arrangement of forms, realizes an order which is a pure creation of his spirit; by forms and shapes he affects our senses to an acute degree…”
This connection is further underscored by the architects’ focus on Corbusier’s “Three Reminders”: Mass, Surface and Plan, all three of which were conceived in the spirit of simplicity and a quest for plastic emotions. According to the architects, partners in a well-established practice with branches in San Remo, Milan and Venice and projects spanning the Ligurian Riviera and the French Midi, the aptly-named Villa Blue Coast “was born of an essential gesture”. The volume, a slender, elongated parallelepiped, is defined by just two large parallel beams, two horizontal lines that extend like an elegant walkway between two rocky outcrops immersed in the Mediterranean scrub. The entire structure is supported by a platform that also houses a spectacular ribbon-shaped swimming pool overlooking the intensely coloured and scented garden below, a green jewel designed by landscape architect Francesca Benza and located in one of the most beautiful stretches of the Côte d’Azur. “Inside it is a home, outside just sea and sky,” comment the architects.
The surface, the “skin” of the construction, encloses its linear geometry in an envelope that is in osmotic harmony with the surroundings, emphasising its essentiality. The grey of the twin beams is complemented perfectly by the pale colours of the infill walls, while the reflections of the large sliding glass windows and the terrace glazing panels create an iridescent chiaroscuro effect that brings the surrounding landscape to life. The floor plan also contributes to the abstract lyricism of the villa. “The fluid, airy open spaces with their spectacular sea views and the double vertical distribution are designed to make the various sections of the building independent,” explain Calvi, Ceschia and Viganò. “This allows the inhabitants to entertain friends in complete freedom and comfort while at the same time organising all kinds of social events.”
The materials chosen to create a fresh, dynamic atmosphere play a very important role in this carefully designed neo-modernist setting. The choice of ceramic products from Laminam – the first company to develop king-size panels of very small thickness – for the horizontal and vertical surfaces of Villa Blue Coast was a key element in this approach. “The materials were chosen to be durable but above all visually stunning,” say the architects. And indeed, the Laminam collections used in the villa create an astonishing “total look” aesthetic inspired by the texture of Carrara marble. Chosen in a large 1 metre by 3 metre size, the I Naturali – Calacatta Oro Venato, I Naturali – Calacatta Oro Venato Lucidato and Filo – Mercurio collections used in all the bathrooms except for the master ensuite are splendid porcelain panels inspired by the aesthetics of natural materials but far surpassing them in terms of their technical performance. They not only add elegance to all the surfaces but also ensure an engaging sense of visual and spatial continuity between decoration and context. A kind of “endless carpet” that creates an exciting, vivid combination of transparencies and reflections that glow in the sunlight during the day and shine like stars in the darkness of the night. They epitomise a work that expresses the design vision of Calvi, Ceschia and Viganò, in which architecture acts as a “generator of new, positive and in many cases unexpected relationships”. Les jeux sont faits!

Laminam, I Naturali
porcelain stoneware
1000 x 3000 mm
I Naturali - Calacatta Oro Venato Lucidato
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): da classe A a C
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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