THIS MONTH AD VISITS A VILLA IN ZANZIBAR BURSTING WITH JOIE DE VIVRE, A HOUSE ON THE ISLAND OF MYKONOS AGLOW WITH THE SUNLIGHT OF THE CYCLADES, AND A HOME IN CATANIA WHERE ART OBJECTS TAKE FORM WITH AN EYE ON TRADITION. WE THEN EXPLORE A RESIDENCE WITH A
Spellbound in Africa
ON THE EAST COAST OF THE ISLAND OF ZANZIBAR A VILLA FITS PERFECTLY INTO THE LANDSCAPE, WITH A CONVIVIAL SPIRIT THAT MAKES YOU NEVER WANT TO LEAVE.
words RICCARDO BIANCHI – photos GIORGIO BARONI
It all began with the doors, nine inlaid beauties found at a local antique store by the owners, a famous athlete and his companion. As in the local tradition, in which the first parts of a house to be installed are the doors. Though perhaps that is a bit too simple. We are in Zanzibar, the cradle of Swahili culture, at the edge of the village of Jambiani on the east coast of the island, where there are fewer tourists (who like the faster pace of Stone Town, the old part of the capital). The owners explain: «We work with a non-profit organization that has a daycare facility and a school here, so we wanted to have our own place, a place to invite our friends». The couple did not renovate an existing structure. «We started from scratch, buying the land and preparing the design. A central volume, two small turrets, each on two levels with a terrace and a small outdoor area, with a sense of privacy. All connected by a large open space with a pitched roof in wood and thatching. We live in the central volume, while the two blocks, which are independent, are for guests. To create a “buffer zone” of cool shade, the glass doors are set back from the facade. But much of the life of the house happens in the shaded outdoor space. And then there’s the swimming pool». The house looks as if it had always been there, blending with nature and with the local spontaneous architecture. «People seem to be taking it as a model now. But building it was a real odyssey. We had to import many materials, even from Italy. Finding an electrician here, so to speak, takes months. Every day there was another problem to solve. It took two full years of work. But it has been fun». The house is full of light, colors, life, positive energy. The dining table in the form of a crocodile came from an interesting store in Stone Town, the Curio Shop. The paintings are by Olimpia Benini, an artist from Florence. The baobab in the garden was already there, joined now by palm trees. The beach is just outside the gate.