Taking its name from the Spanish word that describes the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil, Villa Petricor in Tulum, Mexico, was conceived by local architecture studio CO-LAB Design Office as a place of stillness, mindfulness and re-connection with nature. A monochromatic palette of warm grey cement and terrazzo imbues the two-storey building with a soulful ambience as well as creates a sculptural canvas upon which the interplay of light and shadow gently unfolds throughout the day. Intimately connected indoor and outdoor spaces make the most of the surrounding lush tropical garden, while minimalist furnishings which were custom designed by the architects and hand-crafted by local artisans, evocatively channel the natural beauty of the Yucatan without sacrificing functionality or sophistication.
What further stands out about this three-bedroom house are the sculptural interiors which seem to have been carved out of a single monolithic volume thanks to monochromatic polished cement walls and terrazzo floors which were coloured with mineral pigments and mixed on-site. Cascading level changes and built-in concrete furnishings like benches and bedroom platforms that merge with the warm grey-hued building fabric enhance this sensation and create a continuous, seamless space, while carefully placed windows and skylights usher in plenty of natural light and verdant views.
The project’s sculptural sensibility is further enhanced by a series of arches that punctuate both the exterior and interior of the house, starting with the wide arched opening that connects the open-plan living area with the pool deck through pivot patio doors, and the narrower arched windows, doorways and wall niches that surround it, all the way to the master bedroom on the upper level which sports a vaulted ceiling.
The ubiquitous arched forms soften the austere interiors as do soft, earth-toned fabrics and a collection of furnishings and decorations designed and fabricated by the architects as is the case with the circular dining table, which features a fluted support leg that was cast directly on-site and a Santo Tomás marble top cut and also processed on-site. Other examples include concrete light fittings that were cast and dyed to fit the project’s colour scheme in CO-LAB’s workshop, minimalist wooden chairs made in collaboration with a local carpenter, and bespoke pivoting windows fabricated from rolled stainless steel tube frames with recessed frames. Thanks to such an attention to detail, nothing feels out of place or redundant, encouraging the house’s occupants to slow down and marvel in the beauty of the present moment.