A villa between land and sea

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On the heights above Cannes, a work of minimalist, functional architecture, perfectly integrated into the surrounding landscape. The project, by French firm Phira, set out to create uniform spaces with the aid of shades of grey. The covering for the indoor floors and outdoor pavings is Mystone Ardesia in the Cenere shade, also used for the wall coverings combined with the Brera Grey colour from the Grande Marble Look collection of large-size slabs

An American couple in love with France, and particular the Cote d’Azur, fulfilled their dream of owning a villa in this zone. Designed by architecture firm Phira, headed by Philippe Bonino, the home is in a magical location: on the heights above Cannes, next to a nature reserve, with a splendid view over the blue Mediterranean. Land and sea are the characterising features of the context and they suggested the use for the project of simple, minimalist, functional architecture, perfectly integrated into the surrounding landscape.

“The stated aim of this project was to create uniform spaces, with grey as the dominant colour, in shades ranging through to white, both in the choice of materials and in the indoor colour scheme,” Philippe Bonino tells us, and explains: “Mystone Ardesia, in its Cenere shade, was immediately our favourite choice.”

The use of stone-effect stoneware for both the indoor floors and the outdoor pavings enabled the architects to design the rooms and interpret the spaces with great freedom, superseding the strict in-outdoor subdivisions, which become very blurred here. Both outdoors and indoors, Mystone Ardesia (75×150 cm size) was also used for most of the wall coverings together with another collection in sophisticated yet distinctive taste: Grande Marble Look, in the Brera Grey variant (120×240 cm size). The veining and shade variations typical of marbles are reproduced in tough, high-tech ceramic materials, so the outdoor cladding is extended inside the villa, into the vast entrance hall, and directs the gaze to the view over the sea. “We chose Brera Grey as wall covering not because it harmonises perfectly with the paving, but also for its vibrant, characterful patterning, which enlivens the building’s facade and sets up a counterpoint with the majesty of the nearby and distant environment,” the architect states. The facade, the first part of the building to be seen, which gives the project a precise personality, played a central role in Phira’s design work. “For this villa, we wanted to create the illusion of a monolith set amidst vegetation, indissolubly linking the building to its natural setting,” Philippe Bonino explained, and underlined: “we chose these stoneware slabs as facade cladding because we wanted a material that would make a work of sculpture rather than provide mere ornamentation.”