This villa is as far removed from its predecessor as you can imagine. Before, a traditional single-storey Maltese house stood on this plot, its look blending into those around it. But no more. Today, gleaming black slate plays the supporting role for a smooth, curving front that rejoices in its starkness and simplicity in a place for everything.
What makes this change all the more surprising is that both homes have the same owner. Having lived in their original house for many years, the couple decided they wanted to start a new chapter in their lives and decided to do so in a very different style of home.
The architectural designers of this Modernist-style building are Carlo Schembri Design Team. ‘Our design process started off by initially tackling the exterior design of the villa itself,’ says architectural designer, Ryan Calleja. ‘Indirectly, we were heavily inspired by two completely different media; on one hand, we knew that the design outcome needed to relate to the vernacular nature of the previous house whilst also respecting the surrounding urban landscape. Seemingly opposite to this premise, we also knew the design would need to signify the change as requested by the clients. As inspiration, we latched onto their own version of modern – adapting the Modernist principles that created many architectural masterpieces all over Malta and Gozo.
‘The final outcome is an amalgamation of these two trains of thought. The basic design language is extracted from Corbusieran principles, whilst the sweeping curves of the villa itself are inspired by the arches that mark off the entrances to many of the premises within the area. In this case, the arch is inverted and stretched along the horizontal plane of the villa, appreciated once you look up at the first floor as you are approaching the front door.’
The interior is similarly minimalist, following on from the exterior but also because the homeowners desired a place that was as pared back as possible, making it easy to keep clean and tidy, with a place for everything, much of it kept out of sight.
The space combines a number of different materials, creating an interesting mix of textures. Key to the space is the walnut wood cladding. ‘It not only adds warmth but it also hides a number of openings that disappear once the doors are not in use, eliminating the visual clutter that normal doors would have brought to such a space, with an outcome that emphasises the horizontality of the space leading towards the pool area,’ says Ryan.
The sofas in the living room have been placed so that those seated can easily chat to the cook in the kitchen. ‘This is something the client wanted very much, to be able to have a conversation between the two spaces,’ says Ryan. It all comes together to create a home that’s a perfect fit in every way.