The Rock: Mediterranean luxury
Zsofia Varnagy, Axel Schoenert (Axel Schoenert Architectes)
Set on a rocky promontory jutting out into the sea and surrounded by a thick pine wood that offers protection from the wind and prying eyes, this villa was conceived as the ultimate fusion of architecture and landscape.
The house was designed by Paris-based practice AS Architects (led by husband-and-wife team, architect Axel Schoenert and interior designer Zsofia Varnagy), who described it as a perfect example of « Gesamtkunstwerk » or « total work of art », where architectural project, interior decoration, furniture design and exterior all come together as equally important components of the final building concept.
With a floor space of more than 500 square metres, the villa consists of a single building extending lengthwise on a single above-ground level in keeping with the model of a « finca », the traditional rural cottages found throughout the Balearic Islands. But that’s where the analogy ends, as apart from the pure volume, the flat roof ‒ covered with plants to allow it to blend seamlessly into the landscape ‒ and the alternation of stone and white plaster, the villa has nothing of the rural simplicity of a finca, opting instead for refined and essential luxury with a decidedly contemporary flavour.
To achieve the maximum permeability between interior and exterior, the living space at the centre of the building and the four bedrooms located at the two ends are all equipped with large sliding glass walls that offer splendid views of the garden and the swimming pool area. A 22-metre pool runs almost the entire length of the house, mirroring the blue of the sea that can be glimpsed on the horizon. Acting as a spectacular filter between interior and exterior, a cantilevered lattice sunscreen structure creates a powerful play of shadows that changes with the passing hours like a sundial. The dynamic mesh-like pattern projected onto the floor and wall softens the volumetric austerity and uniform colour of the house, the carefully-designed balance between neutral tones and selected materials. This harmony with the surrounding natural environment is symbolised by the stones that have been left exposed in the entrance façade and have inspired the name of the house: « The Rock ». The doors, the full-height wall that lends a personal touch to the kitchen and the long dining table are all made of wood. In contrast to the rigorously white walls and ceilings, the taupe, pale grey and beige colours chosen for the ceramic floor tiles mimic the shades of the surrounding natural landscape. The ceramic tiles create a physical and conceptual link between the interior and exterior. Porcelain tiles in a 75×75 cm size from the Cluny collection by Cotto d’Este, inspired by Burgundy stone, were chosen in a textured non-slip surface version (Argerot Layé) for the swimming pool area, and in a soft-touch and visually-uniform finish (Argerot Sablé) for the interior of the villa. The result is a sense of spaciousness and fluidity, further enhanced by the interior design – a perfectly-balanced mix of custom furniture and design classics.
Cotto d'Este, Cluny
Argerot Layè - Argerot Sablé
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): LA-HA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 143 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 14mm 6080 N
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 (Sablé) R11 (Layè)
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant