Where fantasy is the local vernacular, this coolly modern, multi-pavilion home — with no corridors, no sense of indoors and outdoors — is a kind of landscape in itself.
The entrance gates are barred with candy canes of spun Venetian glass in shades of Caribbean blue and Atlantic green, and the tropical orchard beyond is planted as thickly as an Henri Rousseau jungle. The promise of architectural adventure hangs as heavy in the air as the scent of frangipani. We are, after all, on a jungle-shaded hillside lane on the island of Mustique — where fantasy is the local vernacular. And they don’t come more fantastical than architect Raffaella Bortoluzzi’s Lagoon House, which perches like a flight of winged prehistoric creatures alighting on a cliff face high above one of the island’s most beloved palm-fringed bays.
Bortoluzzi, 48, first studied architecture in her native Venice, where the approach was traditional; then in Lisbon, where it was experimental; and finally at Columbia University, where it was conceptual. She stayed in Manhattan to work with Richard Gluckman, who was then designing many of the galleries in Chelsea (as it was fast transforming into Manhattan’s art central), ringing subtle changes on “all these white boxes,” as Bortoluzzi remembers. “He was a great teacher,” she adds, “and I learned a lot about detailing, and trying to hide all the things that nobody wants to see in an architectural space.” From there she went to work with Rafael Viñoly, then creating the five-building Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, intriguingly top-lit with fretworks of beams and glass. Vinoly was “very open to experimenting with forms and materials and shapes,” says Bortoluzzi. “Every project by Rafael is something completely different. I was really lucky to get these two such disparate teachers.”
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“Mustique Mystique” by Hamish Bowles originally appeared in Vogue. Photography by François Halard.
This project also appeared online at Architectural Digest (Middle East). “A Tour of Art Collector Maja Hoffman’s Caribbean Dream Home.” →
This project also appeared in British Vogue, May 2018 “The Coast of Utopia” by Talib Choudry →