Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Grace Santorini Hotel & Villa by Divercity & Mplusm
September 6th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Divercity & Mplusm
This 20-room hotel (a joint project between Divercity and Mplusm) is carved into the cliff-face 300m above Santorini’s volcanic caldera. The understated design allows this extraordinary landscape to take centre stage. The hotel provides a contemporary interpretation of vernacular architecture: economy of space, radical simplicity, and organic forms.
Like Santorini’s yposkafa- cave-like dwellings with rounded walls and domed roofs excavated from the rock-face- no furniture is free-standing. Custom-built storage and vanity units are moulded into alcoves. All-white interiors with brushed concrete floors reiterate the trademark whitewashed houses of the Cyclades. The infinity pool’s jagged outline echoes the zigzag paths that criss-cross Santorini’s sheer terrain.
Santorini’s hotel rooms are invariably front-loaded to face the view, leaving residents exposed to passers-by. To ensure privacy, fragments of volcanic rock are positioned in the windows of four rooms, interspersed with apertures that provide glimpses to the sea.
The feature echoes a local architectural technique, more commonly used for retaining walls, in which minimal amounts of mortar are used, leaving gaps between the stonework. By exposing the stones and exaggerating the spaces between them, this light-filtering screen allows privacy and ventilation and casts dappled shadows as the sun goes down.
The Villa (designed by Divercity and added to the hotel 2 years later), a 400 sq m luxury residence, keeps the radical simplicity and the organic forms of the hotel while providing a contemporary interpretation of vernacular architecture. The concept is inspired by the local natural and geological surroundings, specifically the volcano and properties of porosity. An exclusive spa area is dedicated to the well being of the guests with therapies and treatments based on volcanic ash, vines, and lava stones.
The space is articulated through a sequence of thick walls with concave openings, prismatic patterns on the floor and rock-carved furniture.The thick porous walls of the master bedroom and the Volcanic Spa are interspersed with apertures that provide glimpses from one room to another as well as the exterior view. The bespoke black and white resin floor, inspired by the stone-cobbled narrow pathways (calderimia) of Cyclades, lead the guests to the spa, where strong contrasting colours are continued into the hydro massage area.
The Villa, and Volcanic Spa, includes a master bedroom with lounge area, an en-suite bathroom, dressing area, show kitchen, and a guest bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. All four units lead directly onto the spacious outdoor lounge and dining area and the private swimming pool with its view to Santorini Caldera.
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