Alberto Pinto designs a sprawling and gracious vacation home in Marbella, Spain.
Henry Urbach -- Interior Design, 2/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
LIKE THE COAST of Southern California, the Spanish Costa del Sol has proven fertile ground for architecture that exploits clement weather to loosen the boundary between inside and out. These two regions likewise share an abundance of wealthy residents whose homes, or second homes, serve to nurture gracious entertaining as much as to shelter the more basic needs of everyday life in the sun.
This villa in Marbella, Spain, designed by Alberto Pinto, was commissioned by a client for whom Pinto has designed several residences across Europe. This time, he asked Pinto to create a home as a surprise for his 22-year-old son who lives in London. The client commissioned Pinto to deliver the house key-ready, replete with dishes, linens and a fully stocked refrigerator.
Despite the villa's rather grand scale, it is designed to offer a comfortable, easy style of living suitable for a young man and his friends. The program comprises a master bedroom, five guest rooms, and various indoor/outdoor living and dining areas. Spaces are arranged on two levels consistent with the sloping grounds. The entrance opens to a large living area, with expansive bay windows and a covered terrace that reaches toward mountain and ocean views. On a clear day, the red mountains of the North African coast are visible across the Mediterranean Sea. Also on this level are the master bedroom suite, a kitchen and dining room, and two guest rooms. Three additional guest rooms are located on the lower level, along with a den and changing areas that adjoin the outdoor pool, dining patio, and the house's gardens.
An armature of windows, balconies, and covered patios establishes a loose visual and physical relationship between interior and exterior spaces while, at the same time, protecting the house from the region's strong sunlight and robust winds. Bedrooms on the upper level have semi-private balconies that connect with the large terrace off the living area. Overall, interior and exterior spaces are designed to encourage easy movement and social interaction.
For the interior design and decoration, Pinto composed a mix of architectural languages, including farmhouse vernacular and neo-Classicism, as well as Iberian and Spanish Colonial elements. Overall he sought to merge heterogeneous components in an unfussy, contemporary way that would not be too rigidly concerned with period, provenance, or uniformity. The materials palette emphasizes natural elements, including brick, terra cotta, wood, straw, and stone. Walls are stucco. Set within this refined, rustic framework are special, hand-crafted works, ranging from sculptured wood elements to mosaics and specially commissioned, Miro-esque murals.