Villa Malgaresh Architectural & Garden Design: Nice, France 2007

To go to Villa Malgaresh sketch design proposals click the link below…….

To watch the video for this design…….

Conceptual Notes and images

Villa Malgaresh is an exclusive contemporary villa and landscape design project for the South of France.

The view of Villa Malgaresh from the vehicular turning space and guest parking.  For functionality the car port allows direct access into the villa

Looking up the main lower vista towards the Promontory from below the Cypress Terrace.  This is the secondary pedestrian access to the villa from the lower gate where two more guest parking spaces are located outside the property on the public road.

The Promontory lower steps in Spring from the lower Terrace leading up to the Olive Grove Terrace.  A tiled clay wall sculpture creates a striking focal point in the white rendered walls of the Promontory enframed by two flowering Almond trees.

The Swimming Pool by day with its direct access to the gymnasium, changing room, showers and sauna suit is eminently functional and practical.  The linear Swimming Pool Terrace is punctuated at each end by contemporary sculpture greatly reinforcing the sequential journey around the garden.  Here at this end the red Tony Cragg is dominant increasing the psychological illusion of greater space by its vivid red which foreshortens distance against the blue mosaic terrace.  The transition to the bronze sculpture at the other end is greatly emphasised by the mosaic detailing set at 45 degrees to further enhance the illusion of greater space,  The three sunbed locations here allow for six people to recline in shade, while the love seat under the front loggia allows for two more shade seats.

The Swimming Pool Terrace by night is central to the extension of the living unit outside. The folding glass doors of the lounge and gymnasium  create a seamless interface between inside and outside living.  Underwater coloured lighting in the pool augmented by accent lighting on the palms and sculptures creates a nighttime ambience that is powerfully inviting.

The transitional space at night invites towards the Swimming Pool Terrace by means of spot light accents on the multistem palms.

The transitional space between the vehicular turning and interior guest parking leads directly to the Dining Terrace and on towards the Swimming Pool Terrace.  The main focal point from this direction is a beautiful wall sculpture which is the highlight of the Dining Terrace.  The cross axis enframed by four architectural Phormium tenax leads from the Entrance Loggia to the back kitchen door with two exterior parking spaces below the loggia on the public road.  The Entrance Loggia with its intercom system allows for dry and shade seating for guests and visitors while they wait for access.

The swimming pool at night.

Looking towards the red Tony Cragg by night past the front pedestrian visitor door.  The love seat beneath the loggia allows for direct comfortable shade seating directly after a workout in the gym.

The Tony Cragg is the dominant talking point of the Swimming Pool Terrace and is central to the sunbed stations.

The pool is specifically designed for doing lengths and the tower of the glass tower of the contemporary villa provides shade seating on the edge of the pool after a swim.


Inside – outside on the Pool Terrace.


By night.


The second leg of the long main vista looking up towards the villa from the delightful Pond and Terrace which is planted mainly with Xerophytes.  Pairs of Italian Cypress punctuation the transition onto each subsequent terrace from the steps.  An alcove in the upper wall with contemporary sculpture captures the essence of renaissance architecture but with a modern character in keeping with the villa and the client’s taste.

Looking up the second leg of the main vista from the Pond Terrace at night is delightful: blue coloured spots highlight the stone work and intensify shadows created by the rough texture of the local stone.  Warm spots highlight the Cypress accents while soft safety lighting illuminates the steps for free night access to the garden.  The sculpture focal point in the final wall alcove at the top of the accent is strongly light to reinforce the transition at night from this direction.

Looking down the main vista from the contemporary Ball Terrace the central fountain in the small circular pond is a dynamic focal point glistening in dappled light by day and creating the welcome element of noise to incite exploration on the sequential journey.

By night the main vista to the Pond Terrace is breath taking with underwater coloured uplights to the pond and fountain making the voyage down the steps almost irresistible.

The Pond Terrace is the pivot point in the orientation of the garden marrying together with elegance the strange dog leg shape imposed by the site boundaries.  It is a very contemporary space and one of the main design features in this large villa garden with a powerful sense of place.  The circle holds the strongest attraction and desirability for human beings of any architectural form and psychologically is the most preferred seating space.  Water also has the greatest attraction in any landscape and any circular space radiating from a vertical accent such as the fountain here is eminently desirable, while the element of noise created by the sound of falling water adds a psychological cooling influence and makes the space private by masking conversation from the spaces beyond. The overhead partial canopy created by the fine dissected foliage of the wide spreading Albitzia julbressen trees finalises the composition to make this seating space secure, intimate, desirable and aesthetically delightful, with dappled sunlight filtering through the fine cut foliage to create an absolutely magical ambience that one will not want to leave.

At night everything about the circular Pond Terrace seating is further intensified creating a gathering and seating space that is unrivaled in the architecture of this luxurious garden.  When light ever changing distorted reflections shimmer on the circular tubes of the contemporary pond pergola in polished stainless steel.

The semi-circular steps lead down to the Olive Grove Terrace in a contemporary twist on Provencal landscape design.  Here radiating from the central point of the circular promontory lines of radiating Lavadula spicata complement the Olive trees in a most romantic way infused with the quintessential essence of Provence.

From the pivot point of the Promontory a new vista and axial line is cleverly created to continue the sequential journey down to the lower garden.  From the Olive Grove Terrace the general garden theme gradually becomes less formal and more natural with an ever-increasing hint of wildness, though asymmetrical formality still punctuates the sequential and most aesthetic journey.

The new focal point from here onwards in the journey is the contemporary tool shed and greenhouse partially concealed behind a living cubist hedge sculpture in yellow and green contrasting foliage.  The partial enclose creates an element of mystery, one of teh most powerful driving forces behind the sequential journey.

After dark the Promontory becomes a major focal point itself in the garden composition.

The Olive Grove Terrace by day – ‘Provence contemporaire’.  Beautiful flowering Almond trees set off against a clear blue sky enframe the steps down on the terrace below.

A close up nighttime  view of the Promontory from the beneath silver foliaged Olive trees with the illuminated fountain inviting users to ascend the steps and sit for a while in the ambience.

The romantic essence of the Promontory by day in the dappled shade of Olive trees laid out in radial lines and embellished by lines of Provence Lavandula.  There is no formal seating here but one may sit on the steps to imbibe the unique atmosphere.

One terrace is devoted to an ornamental asymmetrical contemporary Pottager.  The ornamental Pottager is an essential component of formal French gardens.

The Pottager beds themselves are quite small and manageable allowing for all basic cultural work to be undertaken from the low maintenance Migrasol paving.  The wall top to the Pond Terrace is delineated by a visually strong line of Lavandula spicata., which as well as providing colour and fragrance attracts bees for pollination of cantaloupe melons and other traditional Provencal crops.

A view along the Pond Terrace at night capturing the delightful ambience.

Semi-circular marble benches surround the pond proving various locations to sit and enjoy the terrace – a great place to read, talk with friends or simply sit alone and think.

The contemporary lines of Villa Malgaresh designed for clean crisp elegance and practicality comprising on the ground floor: large contemporary kitchen, and adjacent large inside dining room, two entry halls from the separate entry loggia and from the car port; large spacious open plan lounge opening seamlessly through many folding glass doors to the Swimming Pool Terrace and situated central to the kitchen, dining room, TV room, entry halls and outside terrace form perfect transition; main entry hall and secondary entry hall with cloakrooms, cozy TV room with folding glass doors to the rear garden pond terrace; large fully equipped mirror lined gymnasium with running machine, step machine, cross trainer, treadmill multi-function resistance station and free weights.  The gymnasium has folding glass doors to the front Swimming Pool Terrace and to the rear Pond Pergola Shade Terrace allowing for good natural air movement through the gym during hard workouts in the Cote d’Azur summer without the heavy overhead of switching on the air conditioning.  Adjacent to the gymnasium is the sauna suite also with its own glass folding doors to the rear Pond and Pergola Shade Terrace, and adjacent to the dedicated changing room with showers and lockers to cater for guests during pool parties.  Aside from the WC’s in the changing rooms the ground floor has four additional WC’s to cater form volume gatherings.

The first floor contains: the large ensuite master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and large elegant mosaic bathroom.  The master bedroom has a large wrap around outside terrace affording views across almost the whole garden.  The first floor also contains the large special guest ensuite double bedroom with it’s own partially wrap-around outside terrace.

The second floor contains: a smaller double ensuite bedroom and small wrap-around terrace being higher proving excellent views across the front and back garden; and a twin ensuite room with war-around terrace.  The connection between the guest ensuite and the twin ensuite via the outside terrace is deliberate to accommodate family guests with children.

The floors are accessed via a partial glass clad open plan stairwell which terminates to the small third floor ensuite double bedroom, though there is no terrace on this floor roof lights and surround windows create an exquisite room for guests or family members.

Villa Malgaresh is air conditioned and with each major room having two or more sources of light it is a most pleasant airy environment.  Strategically positioned pergolas on all floors provide dappled shade from bright sun and privacy from neighbourhood villas to augment the binds in bathrooms.

Villa Malgaresh by day.

The hammer head vehicular turning space and additional interior parking with Villa Malgaresh in the background.  The car port leads directly into the cloakroom and via the electric gates provides dry and sheltered access from car to villa in all weather conditions.

Stepping down one level from the Swimming Pool Terrace is the contemporary Ball Terrace designed on clean crisp lines.  The linear terrace is terminated at each end with matching polished stainless-steel domes to create fish-eye image distortions of the surrounding landscape.  These domes are embellished with radial lines of basalt setts set in the mown grass.  The theme of this terrace is spherical and clipped topiary balls in Buxus sempervirens delineate the walk down the path to the main vista and steps which lead to the lower garden and lower pedestrian entrance.

A common theme throughout the garden is the blue spotlights to highlight the texture of the original stone retaining walls, that were retained for character and sot reasons.  After dark these illuminations along the stone wall and soft uplights under each Buxus ball create a captivating image in the stainless domes.

From the start of the main garden vista steps lead down from the Ball Terrace to the Palm Terrace below.  The stainless steel ‘mirror’ domes reinforce the sense of direction along the transitional terrace.

Ambient lighting and safety step lighting open up the whole garden at night.

The master bedroom exterior terrace affords splendid views down the main garden. Below the Dining Room Terrace can be seen where a contemporary table seats six people for alfresco dining.

The master bedroom terrace at night.

Stainless steel railings provide the safety on all villa terraces and allow maximum air and light penetration.  Coffee, tea, toast and panini making facilities in conjunction with small table and chairs allows for lazy breakfasts without leaving the bedroom space.

Lush pot planting and soft up lights creates a romantic bedroom terrace by night.

Looking down from to the Ball Terrace, Palm Terrace, Pottager Terrace, Pond Terrace and lower garden at night from the front wrap-around of the master bedroom terrace.

The same view by day.

A strategically located seat beneath dappled shade of trees allows reflection on the Ball Terrace by day.

And by night.

The Dining Terrace by day with the sculptures forming the main interest.  The organic bronze swirl sculpture leads the eye to the first terrace steps start of the sequential journey.

By night the Dining Terrace is a delightful place to dine in the cool of the evening and a welcome relief from the heat of a typical Cote d’Azur summer day.

The Palm Terrace is also strongly contemporary in design composition and has two contemporary pergola seating areas with strong sense of space.  The enframing Palm trees, partial overhead ceiling plane of the timber and stainless-steel pergola set into and against a warm stone backing wall, and partially enclosing clipped Buxus sempervirens hedges create a very secure space with the most desirable ‘prospect-refuge’ – the ability to see without being seen, an intrinsic subconscious desire within all humans.

The Palm Terrace has a strong exotic flavour and focuses entirely on luch green and architectural foliage plants.

Illuminated at night for 24 hour use the Palm Terrace is strongly formal and asymmetrical and most contemporary in style.

Exotic architectural foliage neatly confined and associated in a string of clipped Buxus hedging bring order to the jungle in the classic French ethos of overriding control upon nature so loved by the French owner.

Sitting alone to enjoy the night time ambience on the Palm Terrace.

Invisible from the upper terraces and the villa terraces the secret seating on the Palm Terrace allows escape.

Descending from the Ball Terrace to the Palm Terrace by night.

And by day.

One point of interest, here one of the polished stainless steel ‘fish-eye’ domes leads on to another focal point and so through the strong sense of direction in the sequential journey of Villa Malgaresh.

Strategic stepping stones in mown grass reduce compaction and wear for lower maintenance and provide pedestrian direction.

Hewn from the cliff face behind the villa in the Rear Garden the contemporary grotto is another gem of delightful ambiance at Villa Malgaresh.  In this view evening sun pours through the steel gate onto the exquisite mosaic patterned floor.  A traditional Italian mosaic and glass table and steel chairs provides a place to drink a wine or coffee while reading or talking with friends.

Grotto REV F 77700004 No Context

At night spot lighting accentuates the mood by illuminating mossy plants growing with small ferns in the cool shade of the grotto.  This is another hideaway place in the garden to seek solace from the summer heat at Villa Malgaresh.  The main ceiling light enframed by the arched doorway was selected for it captivating lighting effects.

Grotto REV F 9890003 No Context

Three large modern stained-glass windows further allow soft light into the cool grotto for shade plant growth and imbibe the space with a truly magical ambiance.

Grotto REV F 800017 No Context

From the comfortable grotto love seat the inner focal point of the grotto is a contemporary nude sculpture by the same artist as the one in the alcove on the Ball Terrace tastefully lite and set against a lush green velvet like mossy rock face.

Grotto REV F 99990007 No Context

Enframement of the grotto ceiling light by the purpose designed steel gate set against the green wall behind invites the user into the space to enjoy its unique mood.

Grotto REV F 99990005 No Context

The entrance to the grotto by day showing the detail of two of the stained-glass windows.

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Looking towards the grotto sculpture by day with natural sunlight streaming in.

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Sat at the circular petal mosaic table in the cool shade of the grotto looking out through the steel gate into the formal Grotto Garden beyond with its central contemporary sculpture as the captivating focal point.

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Sat in the Grotto Garden by night on one of the four marble benches surrounding the contemporary sculpture.

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Dappled shade in the formal Grotto Garden and moss lined stone paving link this space strongly to the character of the grotto behind.  Bronze and polished stainless steel in the sculpture create interesting effects and tricks of the eye.

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The magic of the Grotto Garden by night.

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By day the Grotto Garden sits in the dappled shade of four wide spreading Albitzia julbrissen trees.  The intersection of the four trees at the centre of the space above the sculpture is deliberately kept open to allow beams of midday light to draw the eye further to the magnificent sculpture by a famous artist.

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Looking out from within the grotto at night towards the illuminated sculpture and the seating space of the Grotto Garden.

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The Grotto Garden is the pivot point in the sequential journey in the rear garden leading to either the grotto, the Swimming Pool Terrace the rear Semi-natural Garden or the pergola and pond shade terrace.  In the garden in the immediate vicinity of the villa there are six sculptures, with a seventh in the grotto.  Every sculpture plays its role in the sequential journey by acting as a magnetic focal point.  The triple green arch and the Claire Voie in one of the hedges enframes an abstract horse head sculpture.

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The formal Grotto Garden by night with Villa Malgaresh in the background.

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Intimate and secure seating under the canopy of trees in the formal Grotto Garden.

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The formal entrance to the Grotto Garden from the Prairie Garden with the central sculpture beautifully enframed for maximum aesthetic.  The interplay of dappled dynamic natural sunlight filtering through the moving foliage of the overhead ceiling plane on the polished and reflective stainless adds a temporal dimension to theis intimate and secure seating space.

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At night subtle lighting entices users into the space to explore.

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The view from the Grotto Garden across the Prairie after mowing.

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And by night with the villa illuminated.

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The rear of the villa on a summer’s day from the prairie seat before the wildflower meadow appears showing the shade afforded on the gym terrace with its views across the pond to the cliff face and the Grotto Garden.

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From the prairie seat by night.

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The Prairie Walk before emergence of the meadow flowers from the entrance of the Grotto Garden by day.  The sequential journey is strong here with interplay between the Grotto Garden Sculpture and tall marble Prairie sculpture which entices the users on the continuing journey around the garden.

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The Prairie sculpture is beautifully enframed between flowering trees to intensify the aesthetic.  Linear stepping stones point towards the sculpture further reinforcing teh vista.

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At night the vista is spectacular with the white marble being highlit by blue LEDs and the path through the meadow being picked out between soft lighting.

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The horse head sculpture and seating space by day.

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And by night.

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The view on a sunny day along the first gym pergola walkway through the Claire Voie to the abstract horse head sculpture.  The pergola walkways provide welcome shade from the Cote d’Azur sun and allow comfortable movement around the villa while creating stunning enframement of certain vistas.

Malgaressh REV BA 20007

The same view at night showing the erie effect of the purpose designed lighting that enhances the abstract form of the horse head to create a spectre like image that invites exploration.

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The same view on one of those rare summer days in the Cote d’Azur where cloud cover obscures the sun.

To go to the sketch design proposals for Villa Malgaresh click the link below…..


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