Villa Nemes is a family building of ca.200sqm situated in the Italian hills overlooking the Gulf of Imperia. The building is composed of two half subterranean volumes arranged on a single floor, following the given morphology of the anthropic landscape of Ligurian terraces and becoming part of it. The existing site was defined by a terraced environment with the strong presence of a mature oak tree, olive trees and a water stream. The villa responds and preserves the natural scenery and its facade blends in with the typical dry stone walls of the Ligurian terraces creating continuity between the building and the surrounding context.
The central entrance of the building defines a pivot point and leads on one side to the spacious open plan living, which is the heart of the building and designed to stimulate social interaction. Big openings facing the sea extend the sitting room to the outside onto the generous timber sun deck and infinity swimming pool. A Patio area with barbecue and herb garden to the West of the house catches the evening sun and offers a comfortable space for outside dining and afternoon lounge. Views from the Patio over the valley are framed by the mature oak tree.
To the other side of the villa is the more private sleeping area with five essential double bedrooms and individual outside spaces for each room which benefit from the morning sun and face the existing water stream. The service rooms are set into the hillside and naturally illuminated and ventilated by large openable skylights. The Villa is designed as a holiday retreat and can host up to 10 people and incorporates a pantry, laundry, storage rooms, technical service rooms, external storage and a garage with 2 parking spaces.
The conjunction with the nature offering impressive views over the valley and sea and the exposition towards the sun were key elements for the design and the arrangement of the spaces. The green roof contributes to the continuity of the landscape and minimizes the visual impact of the building. The villa is surrounded by Mediterranean essences and the permeability of the terrain is maximized by using a combination of gravel and timber surfaces. Natural sources, materials from site and local craftsmanship were used to define an environmentally sustainable design.
The traditional facade is composed by natural stone retrieved from excavation on site, combined with an innovative system of draining, ventilation and insulation. Large floor to ceiling high openings with high thermal performance maximize views and natural light emphasizing the transition from inside to outside. The hidden window frames are embedded into the floor and ceiling, as well as into the external stone cladding and internal lining. The patio and the sun shading canopies act as a mediating filter between inside and outside.
In the living room, the large corner window of six meters which continues for another one and a half meters becomes one of the most significant points of the house. The great transparency emphasizes the diverse scenery of the nature which evolves over the seasons. In the evening external lighting accentuates the materiality of the stone walls creating a sensational atmosphere. Key elements of the project are distinguished, highlighting the oak tree, the pool and the patio lounge with the outside fireplace.
The interior is defined by a simple timeless design combining high quality pure materials and details, as natural timber and stone, with industrial concrete floors and gypsum plaster. The build in furniture and internal doors are custom made in natural oak. The slot of the doors are ceiling high and add to the flowing room arrangement allowing for a functional and visual connection of the private and semi private rooms.
The bespoke furniture of the living room is composed by the kitchen, the bar, the library and the fireplace and TV wall. The arrangement alternates with the large openings and emphasizes them as standalone items. The warm timber panels are in harmony with the imprints of the timber cast boards of the exposed concrete wall to the back of the living room, which functions as a feature art wall.
The design of the bedrooms is essential and allows for different fit out arrangements with bespoke build in oak furniture. The bathrooms instead are clad with natural stone, timber furniture and corian sanitary ware.
Solar panels and photovoltaic are used for underfloor heating and mechanical ventilation, 80% of the energy consumption is produced by the sun and without the use of fossil fuels, the remaining 20% are covered by a heat pump. The highly insulated subterranean concrete shelf, the thermal mass, the green roof with the efficient control of solar light and the use of renewable energy only reduces significantly the carbon footprint of the building while obtaining a superior house comfort and air quality, bringing the building up to Passivhaus standards.