SAOTA may not be the first to shape its designs by the natural settings that surround them, but it’s not hyperbole to say the pioneering architecture and design firm has perfected the technique.
Take Villa Courbe, for example. Located in Cologny, a high-end suburb in the Geneva Lake region of Switzerland, the modern residence was masterfully designed for the lakeside topography and appears to rise gently from the forested and sloped hillside it sits on.
Completed in 2018 and now for sale, Villa Courbe unfolds as a series of sections, each perfectly contoured to the site and each offering a different vantage for taking in the natural scenery. The South Africa-based firm collaborated with French interior designer Thierry Lemaire to create the sophisticated interior, which consists of 17 rooms divided across three floors.
Clad in Zinc siding, the museum-like home opens through a vaulted gallery that flows into the main living space. Curved glass walls line the central living area, bringing sweeping lake and mountain views inside. A towering slab of black marble underscores the volume of the space, while an exterior screen made from laser-cut aluminum filters natural light throughout the day.
Furthering the connection to nature, pocketing glass flow walls onto a private south-facing courtyard with a light-well that feeds an atrium on the basement level. Even the custom zero-edge swimming pool was designed to follow the sun’s natural progression and uses a glass wall to reflect light into the lower floor.
Comptoir Immobilier luxury specialist Quentin Epiney, who represents the property, said that the Rive Gauche (Geneva Lake’s eastern bank) is home to the most exclusive properties in Geneva, the most coveted of which are located in Cologny.
“The most sought-after neighborhood is without a doubt Cologny, where some of the most notable show-business stars, diplomats and royal families take residence,” Epiney said.
Epiney noted that Cologny is the area in Geneva’s countryside closest to the city center and its world-class schools, shopping area and financial hubs. “For those who can afford the prestige of this address, it offers the best of both worlds,” he said.
In recent years, homes designed by SAOTA have commanded premium prices on the open market. In 2017, Pine Tree, the South Africa-based firm’s first Miami project, reportedly sold for $22.5 million. Two years ago, the firm’s first new construction project in Los Angeles went for $35.5 million — among the highest prices paid for a single-family home in the area in 2019.
Luxury real estate experts predict that Villa Courbe will sell for far more than SAOTO’s previous projects; however, the price remains something of a mystery. When asked about the cost, Epiney would only say that the home is available to qualified buyers upon request.
In other words, if you have to ask how much it costs, you probably can’t afford it.