▎Pa.te.os: Four Starkly Minimal Holiday Houses in Portugal Celebrate
Portugal’s Alentejo region has long been a popular destination for Portuguese vacationers seeking peaceful moments amongst rolling vineyards, cork farms, charming hamlets and sparsely populated beaches that stretch for miles on end. The region’s relaxed vibes have also made it popular with slow travel enthusiasts looking for an alternative to the tourist-packed Algarve – maybe too popular if the luxury hotels, stylish villas and hip beach clubs that have sprung up in the past decade around the town of Comporta attest. Fortunately, Alentejo remains for the most part a serene and unspoilt getaway where you can effortlessly disconnect from the day-to-day rush and surrender to the beauty of simple things. This is exactly what hoteliersSofia and Miguel Charters of Primosfera had in mind when they got the idea for Pa.te.os, a collection of four independent holiday houses near the picturesque village of Melides.
Conceived as a home away from home, the concrete houses were designed by Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus to take full advantage of their location in-between the countryside and the beach. Featuring a series of courtyards, or pátios in Portuguese wherefrom the project takes its name, the houses enjoy privacy but at the same time are intimately connected with the surrounding landscape, a medley of pine forests, olive groves and vineyards by the Atlantic Ocean. Starkly minimalist in architecture and soothingly ascetic in aesthetic, a homey sense of warmth nevertheless prevails thanks to the workmanship of local carpenters, stucco craftsmen and stonemasons, as well as personal touches like artworks and books handpicked by the owners. With carefully framed views of the surrounding nature from the interiors and sweeping ocean vistas from the communal swimming pool hovering above the coastal plain, Pa.te.os revels in Alentejo’s untamed beauty while fostering peacefulness and contemplation.
▎Architectural Ruins Lost In Time
Courtyards are a key feature of the region’s vernacular architecture going back to the Romans and Arabs, as they reduce sun exposure, promote passive cooling and improve the property’s microclimate, while in the countryside they also serve as a transition zone between the interior and nature itself. It was therefore important to Sofia and Miguel that they were incorporated into the design of the houses, whilst introducing a contemporary feel and look in reflection of their modern vision of hospitality.
In response, Mateus applied a minimalist architectural language of clean lines and simple geometric forms, designing four identical house-shaped concrete enclosures, each one containing a different arrangement of indoor and outdoor spaces. The properties are orientated towards a different direction to ensure uninterrupted views with a triangular-shaped infinity pool functioning as a pivot. Punctuated by large openings, in effect, the angular volumes comprise a series of sculptural installations that echo the hilly landscape which Mateus describes as “[architectural] ruins lost in time”.
▎With No Hidden Tricks
Ranging from one to three-bedroom houses, all four properties share the same intimate relationship between nature and man-made environments through thoughtfully framed views, handcrafted natural materials, and large glass patio doors that can completely disappear to erase the line between the inside and outside.
Underpinned by a muted palette of earthy hues, a mix of cast concrete, unpainted plaster and natural oak surfaces, and sparse Scandinavian and Italian furniture, the pared-down interiors carry on the buildings’ minimalist architecture. “ With no hidden tricks”, Sofia and Miguel explain, “ Pa.te.os reflects the authenticity of materials without disregarding comfort and function ”. The soulful simplicity of the interiors also reflects the owners’ joy for the beauty of simple things, as do the artworks that they have chosen: a series of compact kinetic sculptures in the bedrooms and four large paintings, one for each living room, which Portuguese artist Olga Sanina made using foliage she collected from the property.
▎The Interior And Exterior Areas Pa.te.os’ Immaculately Designed
Complementing Pa.te.os’ immaculately designed, peaceful setting, indoor wood-burners and outdoor showers further underline the interchangeable character of the interior and exterior areas, while amenities such as freshly prepared breakfast, a curated list of local wines, and on-demand massage treatments and yoga sessions build upon the concept of slow living. Finally, while a custom-made fragrance by British perfumer Lyn Harris rounds up Pa.te.os’ all-sensory experience by capturing Alentejo’s sea breeze and pine tree aromas.
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