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Relaxing around a pool as in a living room

Renovation of a private villa on Geneva Lake, turned into a house with a contemporary appeal


By Guido Lotti -

The water and the light are two archaic and fluid elements, used by AGLarchitects to reinvent a dark and severe villa on the Geneva lake, turning it into a house with a contemporary appeal. Long corridors, dark doors and window, fake terracotta floors; in the basement, a pool tiled with an obsolete pale blue mosaic, an old sauna, all surrounded by rustic plastered walls: this was the state of the villa before the intervention.


A pool that seems living room

To regain an harmonious dialogue with the “genius loci” of the lake, the beginning was the pool: turn it into a kind of added “living room”, as if it was a normal room, like any other but flooded by the water of the lake. In order to render the pool more "domestic", not only the same finishes of the rest the house have been used (grey tiles and white walls), but also it was lowered, reducing its depth from 1,90 m to 1,20 m, making it more comfortable for adults and children. The goal was completed realizing a cover that comes down from the ceiling with steel chains (concealing the swimming pool when necessary and transforming it in a vast salon), and by putting it in communication with the outside through a large window that slides into the floor (as in Mies Van Der Rohe’s villa Tugendhat in Brno).

The white lacquered PVC film that covers the suspended ceiling above the basin reflects the surface of the pool, doubling the space, and gives a “trompe-l'oeil,” effect, that reminds baroque decorated ceilings. The breath of energy generated in the large room of the swimming pool (which also houses a SPA with sauna, turkish bath and an emotional shower with chromotherapy), flows from the basement to the two upper levels of the building, like the jet of an underground source just waiting to be rediscovered.


A minimal and calm atmosphere

Few targeted demolitions, walls total white, led lights, wooden staircase with glass balustrades to connect the living with the sleeping areas, new oak floors and pavements of basalt stone, create a minimal and calm atmosphere that changes with the seasons. In the basement the same floor of the house enters the swimming pool, achieving a “continuum” that binds together the different parts of the project. In the living room the former wall fireplace disappeared, replaced with a new one, black, metallic and pivoting, positioned "à la Corbu” right in the middle of the room, in order to give more fluidity to space: a strong graphic sign, a totem, but also the archetype of the home, redesigned with the “esprit du temps”.

Cuts housing led recessed lights engrave, as in a Dan Flavin’s installation, the new false ceilings of the entrance, living room, TV room and swimming pool, not only lightening the interior but also expanding the space of the rooms. A vertical progression of four rectangular light boxes placed as a Donald Judd’s sculpture, reflected by the water and the stretched ceiling, emphasize the third dimension of the room.


Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
Project by AGLarchitects
Photography by Sergio Grazia, courtesy of AGLarchitects

Stretched ceiling: Barrisol

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