Intelligent Design and Modern Interiors Combine in Private Latvian Residence
The Guaja river in Latvia is one of nature’s own large-scale designers, having carved its own picturesque valley out of the dramatic terrain through which it runs. And, because birds of a feather flock together, the similarly ambitious Latvian team at lolot design settled to build VILLA A, the innovative private holiday house located along the river valley.
From the outside, the home is partially embedded in the valley hill, so it appears smaller on the approach than its 280 m2 floor plan spread across three floors. Inside, the house is rigged with an advanced network of smart-home systems and minimalist contemporary design.
It was decided from the outset that the house would focus thematically on exposed concrete, wood, and plants. “These three materials were the base of the comfortable and cosy feel of the space,” lolot interior designer Santa Meikulāne tells THE PLUS, a cosiness that they’ve pulled off in spite of the dramatic open space left between the first and second floors, creating a spacious atrium, and the gravity-defyingly minimalist staircase.
The furniture and internal doors were planned from the get-go to be of a single material: oak, finished variously in wood oil and wood wax. The 25cm wide oak triple-layered parquet flooring was produced in a small Latvian factory – all the furniture, in fact, was designed by the studio, and apart from the upholstered pieces all were produced on site in Latvia.
The private clients’ tech-savvy exploitation of smart devices takes care of the dynamic elements of the design: smart home systems monitor heating and solar power collectors, outdoor blinds, musical ambience, lighting atmosphere scenarios using the many in-built lighting features, and can even turn the taps on and off. The modern approach is mirrored in the furniture design, with a dramatic black, grey, and wooden colour scheme running throughout the house, punctuated by plant life.
With two first-floor guest bedrooms, a master bedroom on the second floor, outdoors pool, and an open fire, it’s a house were comfort and style meet.
THE PLUS: The river valley seems to have proven a useful tool for creating a private space for the residents. Take us through how!
Santa Meikulāne: The use of the terrain and the small forest and ravine located on the property means that the internal glazed façade of the building is completely hidden from the neighbours’ view. The pool and yard area along with the glazed façade create a closed courtyard, providing a great view of the valley and the treetops.
TP: What attracted you to the use of oak throughout the house?
SM: Historically we have a very ancient and strong tradition of producing wooden furniture, with vast numbers of excellent carpenters and small factories. Oak as a material is historically very typical for this region, and massive local oaks are still used in manufacturing today.
TP: You’ve got some great interior touches – we particularly love the elliptical suspension light. What did you want it to bring to the space?
SM: From different angles, and also from the outside, this lamp along with the light lines of the 2nd floor and the metal tie lines of the glazed façade creates a graphic modernist drawing. The client and the guests sometimes joke that it is a halo.
TP: As a designer: is smart house technology the future?
SM: Artificial intelligence is our future, and it exists in parallel with us. Artificial intelligence develops, and grows in intelligence along with its users. There may come a time when your house might remember precisely where you put your keys, or even prepare a cup of coffee without your input.
TP: What would be your ideal smart house function?
SM: My ideal smart house would know exactly what music I would like to hear the moment I wake up. Music is extremely important to me, both in my creative and everyday life. The house would know when to open the curtains to let the sunshine in – we live in the North and we could really use a bit more sun.
TP: What is the most important thing you’d like to teach artificial intelligence about?
SM: Music, sun, nature and working in a field you love.