Many of life’s pleasures and dreams run the near constant risk of being trivialized. Take a sunny day, the chance to travel, a window looking out towards the sea; the luster of such amazing thrills can fade in the commonplace. Imagine that window with a sea view. Picture it cutting a hole through a simple white wall and filling it with the Mediterranean’s distinct blue horizon, an image that has been so widely that its reality is almost sure to fall below expectations, or to become a caricature of itself. But then again, it can be just right, as is the case of the Italian Riviera cabin that Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet have designed to stunning aesthetic result.
The Monaco-based firm of Humbert & Poyet, who met during their first year of architecture school took on a small, derelict cabin in a prime location between Bordighera and San Remo, and renovated it with great care and insight. Truly derelict and measuring no more than 48m2, it had no bathroom, had been left to the mercy of the elements, and practically had no roofing to speak of, all of which seem distant memories in what is the design duo’s final creation.
The space opens up to the living area and the kitchen with its Carrara marble and brass accents. Its bright whites are the theme of the abode throughout. The hand-painted white larch flooring, using reclaimed marine wood, coordinates with the white sofa that Humbert & Poyet designed, and the walls. An enamel stove and a table bought in England provide the tonal counterpoints that are complemented by the lighting fixtures provided by TEKNA and PETLAMP. To the right of the entrance is the staircase leading to the two bedrooms and an equal amount of bathrooms. The staircase itself is designed to maximize efficiency, with every step doubling as a drawer. Similarly, a cupboard hides under the bed. The elegant bedrooms are all about luxurious details: Antique objects, elegant sconces and a subtle nautical theme while stunning white and brass are the themes for the bathrooms. Large windows let the views in as much as possible, and the open spaces -the skillfully set-up terrace of only 3m2 and the roof- engage nature with riveting audacity. This model Mediterranean cabin’s terrace manages to fit a piano, a sitting area and a hammock. Should one find even that convoluted, a swinging love seat is perched atop the roof.
Suffice it to say that Humbert & Poyet have accomplished an amazing feat. Conscious of its restrictions, the cabin uses the historicity and aesthetic elegance of its materials to be at one with the landscape and the seascape, indeed with the Italian narrative of natural beauty itself. The architect’s call it a stunning romantic escape, and it is: An ideal escape for those who are never lost at sea.