Embedded in the cliff facing the Mediterranean sea hides one of the most extraordinary villas of the peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The world renowned British architect Norman Foster built it for himself in 2002 and named it La Voile, which translates as the sail of a boat from French.
The design of the villa shares a sail’s form with its two gigantic parabolic steel arches plunging down to the ground level, 25 meters beneath. These sails have the function of orchestrating the light and shade of the space, changing the patterns of sunlight calculated according to the course of the sun.
As the old stone house standing on the property was not to be demolished, there was no other possibility but to build over it and reinvent its architecture. Sir Norman has constructed his house upside down – the bedrooms on the bottom floor and the pool on the top floor. The vertical structure offers spectacular views framing the horizon, blurring the boundary between inside and out.
The volume of the main room resembles a cathedral with its 17 meters clearance, framed by stairs to the other floors and the social space of the villa incorporates a library, seating, and dining areas.
This villa can not be missed from the coastal footpath around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat so make sure to locate and admire it the next time you take a stroll on the “billionaires peninsula”.
Source: Pierre Dévoluy, Jean-Jaques Pangrazi: Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and La Voile by Foster & Partners – Casalibrary