Your projects have received a number of prestigious awards over the years. How did the concept of "La Ville" win you over when you agreed to design this project?
As usual, in our work, what inspires us the most is the attitude of the client towards the project, his ambition to realize something valuable and beautiful, beyond just solving "another business task", as in the case of "La Ville“. We were additionally motivated by the fact that he chose our team for his first project in this industry. To this I would add the pleasure of working on a project situated in an environment that is not burdened by unpleasant buildings, which for urban Bulgaria is a unique rarity. In this case our first task was not, as usual, to deal with the negatives of the environment, but only to add value to the place.
How do you manage to follow the trends in architecture and design and are they leading in your work as an architect?
Each project has its own specifics and challenges and certainly in our work we do not strive to simply follow the trends in the industry. The product we create as an architectural studio is the result of the experience, knowledge and developed worldview accumulated over time. Of course, we work in unison with the modern trends, technologies and lifestyles, but we do not follow the "trend" on its own. Each subsequent project is a further development of the idea of what a home should look like and what functions it should perform in order to serve the people who inhabit it and make them feel good in it. We create a building according to the context of the time and place in which it is born and the needs it must satisfy. Then it begins its "own life" – the landscape, as vegetation and park environment, which is an essential part of our projects like this one, are changing and evolving. The property gets enriched, spiritualized and "ages" beautifully, bearing the imprint of the people who inhabit it without losing its character. This is something that is really nice to observe over time.
How have customer requirements and the notion of a "luxury property" changed in recent years?
People's way of life changes over time, and with it their needs. The home should serve its owners in the best way. Everything must be designed by the architect in a way so that those who live in it have a functional home that meets their needs even when they change over the years.
The term "luxury" is defined in a variety of ways and is not always associated with things that are valuable. Therefore, in our projects I prefer not to talk about luxury, but rather about a high standard of design, execution, materials and technologies. It is important for us to create valuable things without having to label them "luxury". In this sense, I would compare the perfect family house with a comfortable glove, rather than with a ball gown. Undoubtedly, it is also about the time and environment in which quality architecture is placed.
Regarding the recent changes in customer preferences, my observations are that properties that are located close to nature are increasingly valued. These are mostly single-family houses with their own yard, where there is a feeling of privacy, security and a cleaner and calmer way of life, as in "La Ville". We already have online access to all the goods and services we need. Therefore, not being in the city center does not affect us in any way. This change in people's priorities and worldviews is, of course, the result of the pandemic and the associated constraints we have gone through.
The search for being closer to nature has led to another trend that is observed in apartment buildings - the most desirable now are the ground floor areas, to which belongs a yard and there is a feeling of living in a house. Regarding the functionality of the premises in a home - in the case of apartments there is a need for a larger area in which to be able to design places for work, sports, rest and privacy, while in the houses this is easier because there are more service areas whose functions can be easily changed.
What distinguishes the project from the others on the market and how did you manage to incorporate the modern look of the houses with the surrounding nature?
Restrained elegance and the absence of any ostentation - this is what we have coded in the DNA of "La Ville". At the same time, in design and aesthetics, we have strived for the feeling of a pulsating structure of fragmented volumes incorporated naturally into the greenery, where you can not just "count houses", but simply enjoy the symbiosis between architectural and landscape volumes.
The project includes fifteen single-family houses, created in unison with the surrounding nature. We relied on natural materials, as well as minimalism in design to achieve a modern urban chic with eco radiance. The interior volumes and spaces are designed to achieve a feeling of space and light - open spaces, large windows, covered and semi-covered spaces, functional distribution of individual areas in the houses, suggesting a sense of constant connection with nature around. We wanted to fit into the environment with a constant dialogue "outside-inside", which is extremely important, especially for this type of buildings and complexes. We managed to harmoniously combine the comfort of a home with everything that suggests the feeling of being closer to nature.
In order to keep the residents undisturbed, we haven’t planned common areas for use in “La Ville” as they usually generate a lot of noise and hustle between the houses. Having this in mind, the investors have provided a place for recreation and socializing in the adjacent neighboring plot - a beautiful and adequately "furnished" natural park - forest. There, the owners of the houses from the complex will be able to gather for barbecue, open cinema and activities, together with their families and guests, without disturbing the peace and privacy of the residents. In this respect, our views coincided with those of the investors, as the idea is for a truly cultural and valuable, pleasant complex to live in.
The advantage of the location is the easy and fast access to the city. Very valuable in this case is the lack of that urban background noise, typical for most places in Sofia. The nature around suggests calm and fresh air, as well as many opportunities for activities. Lake Pancharevo is also a real treasure for the people living in the area.
What do you think is the profile of La Ville's potential customer?
My experience shows that somehow the projects themselves select their clients naturally and a homogeneous society is formed, which shares the same values and ideas about life. Usually these are people who have similar professions, interests, and are at the same stage of their life as families. I believe that this will also happen in “La Ville” and that people will live in a harmonious social environment.
In my opinion, the clients who will really appreciate the project are young families with children who have good incomes and are looking for the comforts that living in a house provide – being close to nature and having features that can change over time - for rest, work from home, guests, for service personnel, etc. A property in which the whole life cycle and the related metamorphoses and changing needs of a family are considered.
From the standpoint of our experience and completed sites over time, we designed the houses at “La Ville” in order to provide all of this. They will have large courtyards, several bedrooms and a spacious dining room with kitchen. However, the most important thing we have tried to achieve is the feeling that each yard is part of a larger green space with the size of the whole complex, without losing the feeling of privacy, security and comfort. We have achieved this with the appropriate location of the individual houses within the plot and the harmonious development of landscaping and landscape architecture, which I believe is extremely important for this type of project.
Unique Estates has been selling properties designed by your architectural studio for years and now has the pleasure of offering this project on the market. What are your impressions of your work with the company?
Over time, there has been a tendency to work with Unique Estates quite successfully together. In fact, what unites us is our mutual desire to provide a valuable product for the customer - a normal Bulgarian family with good incomes, which connects us in this business. I am sure that “La Ville” will reach the right customers in the market with the help of the Unique Estates team.
See the offers from the complex HERE.
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