Roca Llisa, Ibiza, 150km off the Spanish coastline: Essentially a villa, and situated on the exclusive residential estate Roca Llisa, this incredible home designed by South African based architects Stefan Antoni and Mark Rielly from SAOTA is, in anybody’s book, a triumph of architectural island splendour.
Roca Llisa overlooks the transparent, turquoise Mediterranean and flat stretches of white sand with views of the smallest of the Balearic Islands, Formentera. Situated midway between Ibiza town and Santa Eulalia del Rio, close to the villages of Jesus and Cala Llonga, the luxurious estate bakes peacefully in the hot Spanish sun, enough of a distance from the frantic Ibiza summer crowds.
When the homeowners, annual visitors to Ibiza and previous Cape Town inhabitants, approached Stefan Antoni and Mark Rielly to refurbish and alter their existing three-storey house, the contemporary makeover of a classic Mediterranean villa was born. A family retreat, the residence is a restful sanctuary and a collection of meditative spaces functioning simultaneously as a plush lifestyle and entertainment venue for family and large gatherings of friends.
Situated on a wooded slope, the site area covers 2208m². Composed of a series of large rectangular structures, cleverly juxtaposed against blue skies, the villa reflects natural white light in the heat of the constant sun. The economical, simplistic use of this median geometry is a theme that imparts quiet simplicity, encouraging contemplative stillness and calm throughout the house. SAOTA’s architectural design idea focused on the use of organic materials, including timber and stone, to embed the building into its site.
On approach from the steep angle of the palm tree studded driveway to the steps at the front door, an intriguing, floating sculpture greets visitors, arresting the eye, setting the scene for something quite unexpected. A curiously skinny rectangular picture window with an oversized frame offers a peek of what’s inside. Interior architects and decorating team Mark Rielly, Sarika Jacobs, Michele Rhoda and Chad Brander of both SAOTA and ARRCC say they colluded to focus on more tactile, organic materials indoors to add a sense of homeliness and warmth to the contemporary architecture.
“Our interiors are fashioned and inspired by the dynamics of the site and are mostly infused with the poetry of light, landscape and water” says Rielly.
Nowhere is this more notable than from within, with cool white being the predominant feature. Lovely clean, open space stretches out to meet a horizontal blue strip of glittering ocean beyond. Large sliding, glass doors to the outdoor terraces blur the line between indoor and outdoor living. Generous amounts of raw timber, stone and marble cladding are the decorative backdrops in different areas of the house, contrasting gently against fresh white walls. These elements are design features that are left unadorned, making a powerful statement. The different textures of understated cottons and linens in the bedrooms add warmth and depth to the minimal and clean interior. In all though, the organic colour palette highlights some very unusual features, such as the elongated kitchen and its bar stools, that appear almost empty in minimalist form.
An eclectic mix of up-to-date, contemporary designs, artisanal pieces and one-off custom creations reflect the owners’ broad appreciation and understanding of art and design. Well placed, each piece offers a focal point and a visual diversion from the use of white. Easy, comfortable furniture warrants minimal attention and fuss and provides maximum comfort, fitting in effortlessly with its surroundings.
Having three levels within the home offers privacy and also visual interest. Each provides a different function connected via easy stairways. All elements within the levels are kept simultaneously casual and elegant and express a modern relaxed mood, without being excessively layered; the bathroom is functional and inviting with its white half-egg shaped tub, the main bedroom’s lounge area is informal and low-key, yet luxurious.
The primary furniture supplier, OKHA, provided bespoke South African-designed and manufactured pieces for the residence. Their additions included soft, naturally inspired colours with the use of varying materials and textures such as raw offcuts of timber and soft, chunky rugs which have been used to add depth and resonate an effortless, feminine sense of luxury.
Bold and discreet lighting was layered to evoke contrasting but complementary moods. Subtle lighting was incorporated in all recesses and the bulkheads are featured to give a warm glow to peripheral edges. Concealed lighting has also been used to highlight and accentuate the natural finishes with a surprisingly gentle sunset-pink in the entertainment area, adding a slightly offbeat, exciting touch.
When viewed from the front in the evenings, the façade of this Roca Llisa house is a beautifully lit architectural piece. Poolside cycads and glimmering reflections from the swimming pool with giant interconnecting stepping stones and elegant terraced steps lend a regal air to this valuable piece of real estate that takes barefoot luxury to new levels.