Nature inside and out
Andres Garcia Lachner
This building’s most iconic feature is its large glazed façade, a thin diaphragm separating the landscape from the house, a kind of osmotic filter that reflects the lush green of the Costa Rican hills while allowing nature to penetrate inside the building. It represents the search for harmony between man and nature while at the same time epitomising their perpetual conflict, their insurmountable differences. Nestled on the verdant slopes surrounding Costa Rica’s sprawling capital San José, Casa Las Vistas is an ultra-modern, minimalist home designed by Zürcher Arquitectos in keeping with this anthropic-naturalistic approach for Hector Anchia, Indiana Trejos and their three children. Completed by a cantilevered roof clad with Iroko planking in the lower section, the building is characterised by a rhythmic juxtaposition of volumes on three levels determined by the layout of the terrain and is constructed from a combination of polished concrete, glass, wood and — for the interiors — slate, marble, concrete, wood and porcelain tiles from two leading Italian brands, Italgraniti and Ornamenta. «In terms of their form and decoration, the spaces are designed to direct attention onto the exterior views,» explain Inés Guzmán Mendez and Gregory Kahn Melitonov, the talented young principals of the firm Taller KEN commissioned to carry out the interior design project. «The materials help connect the house with its context, while the sophisticated palette of materials and the furnishings chosen mostly from Italian design brands aim to establish a close visual and tactile relationship with the natural surroundings and in a certain sense allow them to penetrate inside the home.» This sensation is particularly evident in the living area. The central hub of the layout is a double-height open space overlooking the hilly landscape and containing the living room and dining area, both paved with wooden parquet and ceramic slabs from Italgraniti’s Nordic Stone collection in the Denmark finish, as well as the kitchen, where the designers opted for a porcelain floor tile from the Materia D line, Cenere finish, again from Italgraniti. The work island is clad with Nero Marquina marble and the backsplashes consist of geometric patterned tiles from the Tangle series by Ornamenta. The aesthetics of the space are dominated by the large, earth-coloured Asolo sofas designed by Emilio Nanni for Pianca, but above all by the impluvium clad on two sides with grey slabs from Italgraniti’s Metaline collection and consisting of a perennially lush winter garden centred around a large palm tree. «Here, nature takes the form of an astonishing sculptural statement,» observe Guzmán Mendez and Kahn Melitonov.
From this space, an airy wood, metal and glass staircase climbs up to a walkway suspended above the living room, which in turn leads to the sleeping area enclosed in a forest of bamboo and comprising the master suite and two other bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom paved with porcelain tiles from Italgraniti (Metalie Plate) and Ornamenta (Metafisico Polished). Below the open space that appears to float above the landscape, the lower level serves as a connecting space between indoors and outdoors and features a living room, a kitchenette and a dining area completely open onto the lush garden reached by a short flight of steps, the other key player in this successful project integrating natural and artificial.