Formafatal and Refuel Works settle concrete Art Villa in a lush Costa Rican jungle

Cantilevered swimming pools, custom furniture and spacious interiors dictate the concrete Art Villa, part of the luxurious Art Villas resort complex by Formafatal.

by Jincy Iype Published on : Oct 30, 2020

The Art Villas resort compound resting amid the lush green jungles of Costa Rica, with envy inducing views of the Pacific Ocean, consists of three unique luxury villas and one multifunctional tropical pavilion including the recently completed Art Villa. Headed by Dagmar Štěpánová, Prague-based Formafatal studio is the main architect of the whole resort design, and has also done the interior design and final form of each villa, located a little ahead of the Costa Rican town Uvita, on the jungle hill above the beach Playa Hermosa.

Art Villa designed by Formafatal and Refuel works | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
Art Villa designed by Formafatal and Refuel Works Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice

Spread over 25,000 sqm, the three villas and pavilion are conceptualised and designed by three architects, encompassing three different attitudes of design, manifesting in a unique, beautiful and integrated complex - the concrete Art Villa is the combined labour of Czech studios Refuel Works and Formafatal, while the minimalist Atelier Villa is done completely by the latter. Archwerk studio is behind the architectural concept of the set of five egg shaped houses of Coco Villa and Wing, a tropical, multifunctional pavilion.

  • Concrete makes up the Art Villa | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Concrete makes up the Art Villa Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice
  • Swimming pool and wooden deck | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Swimming pool and wooden deck Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice

Štěpánová shares that the studio derived the aesthetic and design language of the Art Villas from the atmosphere and colours of Central and South America. “When the investor approached us, he wished to create a place where the visitors merge with the surrounding nature, clearing their mind, experiencing luxury and adventure at the same time. He wanted to create a place that digs deep into everyone’s heart when they taste it,” he adds.

Art Villa’s expansive foyer | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
Art Villa’s expansive foyer Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice

The first to be designed and completed is the majestic, two-storey Art Villa that emerges as a vision in naked concrete, stone greys nestled among the luscious greens. With a floor area of 570 sqm, the Art Villa welcomes visitors into its generous common area that comprises a foyer, main living room, kitchen and dining room and a roofed terrace by a pool. One can see a circular reflecting pond in the foyer, a round light fixture with wavy patterns on it and an outline of a surfer, hovering directly over it. Two heavy horizontal slabs of concrete make the roof and terrace, while another hefty concrete block cantilevers from the rentable villa over the sloped site, as the sparkling swimming pool.  

  • The foyer features a circular reflective pond and hefty glass doors | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    The foyer features a circular reflective pond and hefty glass doors Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice
  • Indoor plants soften up the bare concrete surfaces | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Indoor plants soften up the bare concrete surfaces Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice

The interior design and architecture transcend the ordinary, inspired by the wild jungle that surrounds the villa, as well as the works of Brazilian architect Paulo Mendez da Rocha, known for his concrete monoliths. Every façade is fitted with massive glass doors that invite one into the sprawling space. “The concrete walls are deliberately left raw, complementing the interior components, selected materials, water, and greenery – all together creating an unusual environment, both rough and luxurious,” mentions Štěpánová. The villa is equipped with five bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms that make up the floor with the living area, while the basement has a children’s playroom, a gym, a dance hall, a walk-in closet, a laundry room and other utility rooms.

  • One of the sprawling bedrooms | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    One of the sprawling bedrooms Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice
  • Bedroom floor finished in decorative cement tiles | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Bedroom floor finished in decorative cement tiles Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice
  • The foyer features a circular reflective pond and hefty glass doors | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Gym in the basement Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice

The floors of the expansive bedrooms and bathrooms are finished with decorative cement tiles, custom-made over the border in Nicaragua. Line Voltage Track light by Wac Lighting stretches over the concrete ceilings, while Baxter’s bell light hangs over the open kitchen, its backsplash featuring a teal, hand painted watercolour jungle motif that elevates the floor’s décor. More colour is introduced inside the villa design in the form of pastel modular sofas, brightly shaded stools and interior plants, along with beige curtains and jungle wood floors. Mula Preta’s Duna lounge chair and FDC1 chair by Objekto are among the pieces of dynamic furniture used in the foyer and living area.  

  • Inside Art Villa’s living space | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Inside Art Villa’s living space Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice
  • Baxter bell lights hang over the kitchen island | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Baxter bell lights hang over the kitchen island Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice
  • Hand painted watercolour jungle motif as the kitchen backsplash | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Hand painted watercolour jungle motif as the kitchen backsplash Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice

Most of the Art Villa and the Atelier Villa is fitted with custom made furniture designed by Formafatal in collaboration with local craftsmen or manufactured in the Czech Republic, made of teak and Brazilian nut-tree. “The custom pieces go well together with several armchairs of a shared origin – they were all designed by South American designers and architects,” says architect Jan Skoupý, managing director, Refuel Works. Teak wood, metal, and linen dominate the residential design, and along with the furniture pieces in secondary pastel and bright colours, “truly bring the raw concrete monolithic interior to life with a touch of softness”.  

  • Jungle wood flooring in the bathroom | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Jungle wood flooring in the bathroom Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice
  • Bathroom | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
    Bathroom Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice

Atelier Flera, the landscape architect for the holiday home, notes that the abundant greenery and garden elements were approached in a specific manner, keeping in mind the steep sloped site and the existing landscape. They sought to maximise the space, engage the built with the garden and therefore designed the landscaping elements across stepped surfaces and small terraces. They also selected non-invasive greenery, especially edible plants from the local area including achiote, the Costa Rican national tree Enterolobium cyclocarpu, leafy banana plants and trees, coconut palm trees, mango trees, papaya or lesser-known plants such as annona muricata or guava.

Art Villa is nestled within a Costa Rican jungle | Art Villa by Formafatal and Refuel works | STIRworld
Art Villa is nestled within a Costa Rican jungle Image: Courtesy of BoysPlayNice

Project Details

Name: Art Villa
Location: Bahia Ballena, Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Area: 618 sqm (Built up), 571 sqm (Usable Floor Area)
Client: Filip Žák
Architect: Formafatal and Refuel works
Design team: Dagmar Štěpánová (Formafatal), Jan Skoupý, Zbyněk Ryška (Refuel works)
Landscape architect: atelier Flera
Realisation of screed surfaces: Different Design
Jungle watercolor painting: Můj Originál

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