By Will Speros
Czech design studio Formafatal first began work on Art Villas Costa Rica in 2016, and spent nearly four years perfecting the sprawling resort property in the jungles above the town of Uvita. Overlooking Playa Hermosa on the Pacific coast, the project comprises three villas and a multifunctional pavilion spread across nearly five acres, only reachable up a steep, unpaved road. Inspired by the lush setting as well as the style of Brazilian architect Paulo Mendez da Rocha. The two-story Art Villa, at once rough and luxurious—with an architectural concept courtesy of Refuel Works—sits center stage and evokes a distinctively contemporary ethos that celebrates indoor-outdoor living.
“We wanted an inconspicuous house,” says Formafatal architect Dagmar Štěpánová, who handled the interiors. “The main inspiration was that particular place, nature, and also our reflection—what one needs to be part of a whole—idea of erasing boundaries between interior and exterior and also highlighting constructional simplicity and pure lines.”
Visitors are greeted by a large indoor Zen pond embedded into the entryway’s concrete floor. A staircase rises through the upper level and into the canopy. The villa’s green roof, perhaps the project’s most significant challenge, cools the structure, mitigating the need for air conditioning, while the terrace and pool offers a panoramic vista of the surrounding landscape.
A simple, yet playful approach characterizes the Art Villa’s interiors, where raw concrete is artfully softened with abundant greenery and natural materials like teak, metal, and linen that are suitable for the climate. “When designing the interiors we emphasized a sensitive and artistic approach, we found inspiration in the surrounding wild jungle,” Štěpánová says. Despite invitingly framed natural views, custom furniture and ceramic surfaces steal the show. White ceramic kitchen tiles depict Costa Rican jungle motifs, adorned with soft blue and green hues to further echo the lush scenery beyond the walls.
Decorative cement floor tiles also span each of the five private guestrooms and bathrooms, “trying to achieve the feeling of an old, weathered and partly worn-out floor that could tell plenty of stories,” Štěpánová says, while pastel-toned furniture accentuates the villa’s concrete bones. The color scheme is “more or less emotional,” she adds.
Photography by Jakub Skokan and Martin Tůma / BoysPlayNice