September 22, 2021

Farmhousecafetaos

Home Improvement

Inside a Dreamy Oasis Tucked Along Mexico’s Pacific Coastline

5 min read

A passionate cinephile, the Mexican movie executive knows the impact a dramatic setting can have on the senses. So when he heard that a sprawling villa perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Mexico was for sale, he snapped it up. Then he called the Paris-based Argentinean AD100 architect Luis Laplace to create a family and business retreat that would be theatrical as well as welcoming.

The two men have a long history of working together: Laplace designed the executive’s apartments in Paris and New York City in addition to a handsome 18th-century building he owns in the colonial town of Morelia, Mexico, which Laplace converted into a café/bookshop/pied-à-terre. “I like Luis’s sense of aesthetics and the way he blends beautiful furniture and textiles with local materials and crafts,” the executive says now. “We have similar visions.”

That may be. But when Laplace surveyed the property, nestled in the 1970s resort enclave of Costa Careyes, he decided the only way forward was to tear down the existing compound. The client was taken aback, to put it mildly. “I was first opposed,” he recalls. “Then I understood that we could arrive at a more personal and coherent project if we started with a blank canvas.” Or, as Laplace explained it, a home “for what you need today.”

custom sofas in a Pierre Frey fabric line the bamboo-canopied Palapa living room. Laplace designed the Parota-wood-and-lava-stone cocktail tables. René Martin lounge chairs; Karl Springer ottomans.

The requisites were Panavision large. As a major player in the film business, the client entertains lavishly and hosts VIP guests regularly. Therefore, there was a checklist of musts: plenty of guest rooms, a gym, an annex to house staff, and, of course, a state-of-the-art screening room. Overall, he wanted a home that would be “timeless and well integrated into the landscape of the Mexican Pacific coast.”

Laplace, an architect known for conceiving homes to showcase art—he’s a firm believer that form follows function—knew exactly how to fulfill that mandate: by designing enormous windows and sweeping open spaces to “focus on the spectacular nature and the sea. You have whales pass in front of the house, and sea turtles,” he says. “Usually, we put art in the center. But here, nature came first.”

For building materials, Laplace went as natural, and as regional, as possible, so that the home would harmonize with its surroundings. He used parota, an amber-hued tropical wood that withstands humidity, for tables and other furnishings; lava stone for tabletops; straw for cabinetry finishing; and bamboo and straw for the palapa, a spectacular outdoor living room with a soaring, cathedral-like thatched canopy. Traditionally, palapas are made of straw, with concrete columns. But the client wanted bamboo supports to give the space a lighter, lusher atmosphere. To erect it, Laplace brought in a bamboo specialist, architect Simón Vélez of Bogotá, Colombia.

An Alexander Calder tapestry hangs in the primary bedroom. Brass-and-bamboo armchair by Ubunji Kidokoro; grass-seated desk chair by George Nakashima woodworkers.

An Alexander Calder tapestry hangs in the primary bedroom. Brass-and-bamboo armchair by Ubunji Kidokoro; grass-seated desk chair by George Nakashima woodworkers.

Laplace designed the terra-cotta pots and lava-stone fountain.

Laplace designed the terra-cotta pots and lava-stone fountain.

The interiors, centered around the owner’s contemporary furniture and art collection, evoke “something that is clearly Mexican, but with international flavor,” Laplace explains. Think midcentury Acapulco, when the Hollywood elite would jet down to holiday in grand style. Laplace carried on the palapa’s bamboo theme with mod wall sconces, curvy ceiling fixtures, and retro bamboo-handled flatware by Alain Saint-Joanis, which mercifully, unlike vintage versions, is dishwasher-safe.

Another recurring note is ceramic tile, produced in Guadalajara, in a bespoke palette of palmy greens, earthy browns, and ocean blues, inspired by the surrounding landscape. Laplace used the tile to tie the rooms together: on walls in the bedrooms, baths, and kitchen; for tabletop surfaces; to enrobe the bar. Building on this ceramic narrative, he added colorful modernist lamps that he and his partner, Christophe Comoy, purchased from galleries and antiques dealers in Paris and Los Angeles, and throughout Mexico, as well as a plethora of large terra-cotta jugs, jars, and other statement pieces, many of which Laplace—a former ceramist—drew up and had produced in Mexico. Laplace also commissioned regional carpenters to handcraft beds, tables, and chairs. Mexico’s artisans, he notes, “have incredible technique.”

More Inside A Dreamy Oasis Tucked Along Mexico’s Pacific Coastline

In a guest room corner, an Ingo Maurer pendant light dangles above a Banquette from JF Chen; vintage armchairs and rope floor lamp.

In a guest room corner, an Ingo Maurer pendant light dangles above a Banquette from JF Chen; vintage armchairs and rope floor lamp.

Woven Tule chairs by Txt.ure flank a lava-stone table by Laplace on a terrace. The enormous terra-cotta vessels were also designed by Laplace. Landscape architecture by Kathrin Grimm.

Woven Tule chairs by Txt.ure flank a lava-stone table by Laplace on a terrace. The enormous terra-cotta vessels were also designed by Laplace. Landscape architecture by Kathrin Grimm.

On a capacious terrace Vintage Rattan-and-Metal chairs by John Risley face the Pacific ocean; Lava-stone fountain and side table.

On a capacious terrace Vintage Rattan-and-Metal chairs by John Risley face the Pacific ocean; Lava-stone fountain and side table.

Two woven tule chairs by Txt.ure sit next to the pool.

Two woven tule chairs by Txt.ure sit next to the pool.

A tranquil guest room.
Custom colored tiles from Cerámica Suro add graphic punch to a bath.

Custom colored tiles from Cerámica Suro add graphic punch to a bath.

A Gio Ponti Armchair and a Sika-Design Rattan bench mingle with pieces by Laplace in a guest bedroom.

A Gio Ponti Armchair and a Sika-Design Rattan bench mingle with pieces by Laplace in a guest bedroom.

Laplace designed the terra-cotta pots and lava-stone fountain.

Laplace designed the terra-cotta pots and lava-stone fountain.

The primary bedroom is artfully outfitted with a Vintage John Risley chair, artwork by Joaquim Tenreiro (above the custom bed), and a large wood sculpture by Dragoljub Milosevic.

The primary bedroom is artfully outfitted with a Vintage John Risley chair, artwork by Joaquim Tenreiro (above the custom bed), and a large wood sculpture by Dragoljub Milosevic.

An alexander calder tapestry hangs in the primary bedroom. Brass-and-bamboo armchair by Ubunji Kidokoro; grass-seated desk chair by George Nakashima woodworkers.

An alexander calder tapestry hangs in the primary bedroom. Brass-and-bamboo armchair by Ubunji Kidokoro; grass-seated desk chair by George Nakashima woodworkers.

Custom tiles by Cerámica Suro line a kitchen sink at one end of the palapa living room. Tableware by Perla Valtierra; vases by Arte Ananås.

Custom tiles by Cerámica Suro line a kitchen sink at one end of the palapa living room. Tableware by Perla Valtierra; vases by Arte Ananås.

Custom sofas in a pierre Frey fabric line the bamboo-canopied Palapa living room. Laplace designed the Parota-wood-and-lava-stone cocktail tables. René martin lounge chairs; Karl Springer ottomans.

Custom sofas in a pierre Frey fabric line the bamboo-canopied Palapa living room. Laplace designed the Parota-wood-and-lava-stone cocktail tables. René martin lounge chairs; Karl Springer ottomans.

Vintage stools pull up to a Cerámica Suro tile-lined bar. Steel sculpture by Rufino Tamayo.

Vintage stools pull up to a Cerámica Suro tile-lined bar. Steel sculpture by Rufino Tamayo.

A grouping of Laplace-designed ceramic vases is assembled against a stone wall.

A grouping of Laplace-designed ceramic vases is assembled against a stone wall.

An inviting outdoor shower.

An inviting outdoor shower.

The open-air small palapa living room is furnished with many vintage pieces from Paris gallery MaisonJaune Studio.

The open-air small palapa living room is furnished with many vintage pieces from Paris gallery MaisonJaune Studio.

An inviting terrace is lined with cushions of Pierre Frey Fabric.

An inviting terrace is lined with cushions of Pierre Frey Fabric.

Shells, corals, and ceramics are displayed on a John Nyquist table from JF Chen.

Shells, corals, and ceramics are displayed on a John Nyquist table from JF Chen.

Looking into a bath with a view.

Looking into a bath with a view.

A sitting area at one end of the main living room offers breathtaking views. Vintage sofa and armchairs; Laplace-designed ceiling light and cocktail table.

A sitting area at one end of the main living room offers breathtaking views. Vintage sofa and armchairs; Laplace-designed ceiling light and cocktail table.

For a finishing touch, at the client’s request, Laplace created three water features, so the home would link to the ocean, like a river flowing to the sea. One, a low black-stone cylinder on the terrace, awash with smooth water, was a riff on the glass sculptures of American artist Roni Horn. Another, a stone canal, serenely pours into the infinity pool. As Laplace points out, “fountains are a recurrent element of Mexican architecture, and water is very soothing.”

When the house was completed, the client christened it Casa Luz, he said, “because it is full of light, because you can see the most beautiful sunsets throughout the year, and because my daughter’s name means ‘light of dawn.’ ”

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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