Three entirely different houses designed by a single architectural principle

The realms of creation in architecture evolve with each project, drawing inspiration from the surroundings, materials, and desires of our clients. This summer and fall, we designed three completely distinct houses that respond to impulses from the environment, becoming unique spaces for their users.

A broad range of styles and details in our designs result from an individual approach to each project. By getting to know our clients — their interests, habits, and wishes — we begin to sculpt the space where their everyday lives will unfold. In this sculpting process, the region’s specificities and natural surroundings often lend us a helping hand, through the means of materials, traditional architecture, flow of waves and wind, or landscapes that evoke entirely different parts of the world. Using these elements as recognised impulses, we strive to weave them into our projects, creating homes that feel as though they have always belonged in their respective locations.

In the presentation of our three latest projects, we will showcase how guided by a unified design process, we have designed a house that echoes elements of East Asian architecture, creating its own microworld, seamlessly woven into the surroundings, despite drawing inspiration from a completely different context. Another project follows the movements of waves and the sea, transforming a house into a contemporary sculpture carved into the rocks of the Adriatic coast. The third project combines the traditional Mediterranean environment with a present moment through romantic arches, a garden, and the modern form of the structure.

House inspired by the Far East

The nature-surrounded complex consists of a central house and auxiliary structures separated by a water surface, but connected by a canopy and a paved bridge-like path, evoking motifs from Asian gardens. By modernizing traditional architecture from the Far East and adapting it to European surroundings, we’ve crafted a unique geometry that blends modern straight lines with specific curves inspired by the roofs of Asian houses.

The house’s interior further emphasizes its connection with nature. In a manner reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of wooden elements in his prairie houses inspired by Japanese architecture, we’ve introduced wooden features into the interior design. These elements bring nature into the space and create clean geometry in warm tones. Relying on wood as the primary material, we explored variations of its use—from semi-transparent elements like louvred screens that induce the play of light and shadows, to flush wall coverings that highlight the house’s monumental and luxurious tone, to functional-aesthetic ceiling element, embedded with light fixtures, that simultaneously highlights the direction of the rooms and enables linear illumination.

The most striking manipulation with wood is achieved in the kitchen area, where precise functional requirements and design flexibility allow for the simultaneous use of wood sequentially as a decorative, functional and structural detail in the space. In the kitchen of this house, the decorative touch of wooden wall coverings gradually transforms into the fronts of kitchen cabinets, flowing into a wrapping for a structural beam, and at the culmination of the design, turning into a decorative element—the window frame with a countertop, facilitating visual communication with the surroundings of the house.

Inspiration drawn from Asian architecture, paired with the process of sculpting the space for contemporary users, has resulted in the creation of an open-plan area where functions visually intertwine, whilst the subtle changes in materialization, the introduction of stone elements, and the appearance of freestanding structures of wooden portals create gradual transitions between micro-ambiences.

Futuristic house shaped by waves

Nestled on a slope overlooking the Adriatic Sea, our project in Istria is envisaged as a contemporary sculpture carved into the terrain. When shaping the two houses, unified to form a cohesive whole according to the client’s wishes, we drew inspiration from the waves and the way they carve the rocks of the coast.

Responding to the client’s wishes regarding the introverted character of the complex, with a pleasant oasis in the centre, and aiming to provide a sea view from both houses, much like the waves carving the rocks, we carved the forms of the houses, drawing the sculpting movements back to the sea and thus opening the views towards the surface of the water.

The introverted character of the sculptural architecture of this house is particularly accentuated by the introduction of water elements, embodied in the shapes of a pool, waterfall, and water mirror, creating unique audio-visual sensations. Inspired by the waves, the architecture now incorporates the gurgle of water and mirror-like surface, reflecting the fragments of the architectural motifs. Together with the ribbed canopy that allows sunlight to filter through, the rippled water surface enables the reflection of light, resulting in a dynamic pattern on the facade.

The upper part of the cascading form of the houses is shaped with curved wave-like strokes towards opposite sides, functionally creating zones for canopies and terraces while communicating a layered effect and a sense of lightness to the structure. The slope of the terrain and the waterfall between the water surfaces on two levels have influenced the landscaping of the entire complex, creating an overall dynamic structure.

Mediterranean chic – a romantic stone villa

When clients express a desire to create a unique haven inspired by Mediterranean cities with narrow streets and stone houses, our response involves seeking a modern form that can simultaneously highlight the timeless value and beauty of stone, yet become a place of everyday life in harmony with contemporary needs.

Relying on the ability of the stone to be perceived as both a massive element and a texture composed of fragments, we articulated the house through three volumes that open towards the courtyard. The texture of the stone block wall, reminiscent of traditional Mediterranean houses, dominates the central part of the structure, forming a serene facade within the courtyard ambience. The treatment of the facade with a rough finish, evoking a large stone surface, is retained in the higher sections perceived as smaller towers of specific geometries.

By carving into the simple cubic geometry, we achieved a dynamic form, which together with double-height arches creates a futuristic-rustic ambience where patterns of romantic elements from Mediterranean architectural heritage are discerned within expressive modern architecture. Besides their role as elements of the facade, the arches are articulated to visually frame the views of the villa’s garden, contributing to the creation of a unique spatial narrative.

In this villa, we have given special attention to the design and landscaping of the garden with a pool. Modern outlines of the stairs and platforms for relaxation are contrasted with chessboard-like arranged tiles, while the connection with the interior is facilitated by tall glass doors with double-winged openings, which provide a modern response to the gates and French doors of traditional Mediterranean villas.

Single process for an array of various projects

Our approach to designing these three houses, each characterized by a unique style, reflects our dedication to diversity and details that introduce the user’s character into architecture. In a short timeframe, we managed to articulate different aesthetic languages, creating architecture that is simultaneously extraordinary and in complete harmony with its surroundings.

Guided by our design process, which relies on individual locations, contextual specificities, and client desires, we have managed to create three distinct design narratives in these projects. In each narrative, elements are unique, and designed without repetitions, yet we have preserved our recognizable signature style. Working on these completely different projects simultaneously reminds us that each endeavour is an opportunity for a new exploration of the array of details that make each of our projects unique.