by Pallavi MehraFeb 08, 2022
The creative process, for many, comes with the desire to embrace the impossible, the extraordinary, the larger-than-life – a shoe designer who wishes to replicate Hermes’ winged sandals; an architect who dreams to build sans columns and beams; a writer who craves to put to paper what hasn’t been imagined before.
French architect Anthony Authié, founder of Paris-based Zyva Studio and London-based artist and interior designer Charlotte Taylor, the founder of Maison de Sable, collaborated to realise the vibrant and virtual dreamscapes of Villa Ortizet and Neo Chemosphere, dipping into the river of fantasies and drawing from realities. These alternate between the functional and aesthetic, the unfamiliar and congenial, the futuristic and explorative, “seeking to create a metaphysical relationship between architecture and its user”.
Their recent project, Neo Chemosphere, emerges against a mighty blood pink moon, and pays tribute to American architect John Lautner, by reimagining one of his most famous works, Chemosphere, a modernist house in Los Angeles. Built in 1960, the dwelling resembles an otherwordly spaceship, hailed at that time, as revolutionary and futuristic. The 145 sqm house responds to a post COVID-19 world, perched atop an extraterrestrial, archeological site, somewhere in Marseille Calanques. Envisaged in a post-anthropocentric setting, the octagonal form spans 14 diameters and sits on a lanky concrete pillar that emerges from the candy floss coloured rocks overlooking the sea.
Merging romance, modernist architecture and sci-fi visuals, the design also pays homage to the cinematography of the mid 70s, namely from Alien; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Star Wars and Rollerball. “These iconic settings were the first forms of an exaggerated, neon future, getting us out of an insipid reality,” states Taylor. Authié and Taylor sought to create a quaint environment, of relaxation, contemplation and non-conventional ideas of space and aesthetics.
The interior design wraps itself entirely in white resin, as a soft contrast to the ultra-pink, loud environment it is set within. “Neo Chemosphere sits halfway between life’s realities and the spiritual place, delivering a contemporary commentary on housing as a retirement from society and a reconnection with nature,” the two designers claim.
The spiky green, monochromatic Villa Ortizet was their first collaboration, and honours the luxuriant French countryside, visualised in the town of Saint Pierre le Vieux in Lozere. It is also a tribute to Authie’s grandfather who spent half of his life in this charming and mysterious village in France.
The 260 sqm residence is a euphoric mix of organic and hyper modernist elements, its acid green shell reflecting the green of nature. The open plan insides adopt a repeated use of curves and limited furniture, while a moss covered rock links every space, coalescing as a single entity. “We free ourselves from traditional forms, to create a true symbiosis between the built space and surrounding nature. This hybrid format presents a new type of evolutionary, sensorial architecture which is in constant interaction with the environment and the climate,” informs Taylor.
These drawing board projects embrace the understated beauty of solitary existence and of nature and architecture rendering themselves in a chorus of unsuspected colours. “These designs might not be wholly pragmatic, but is an architectural experimentation, exploring the limits of architectural identities, playing with radical forms and associations of materials and colours that wouldn’t really be possible in real life,” Authié remarks.