If your dream home is an oasis of Japanese zen, then the home we're about to show you will definitely make it to the top of your lust list in no time. What with the pandemic and everything else going on in the world, the idea of a tranquil space for contemplation – that also has a swimming pool – is appealing to most of us.
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The other thing is, while many people adore Japanese minimalism and Japanese gardens, not everyone would be fond of a Japanese winter (it does snow). But how about a home that takes all the best bits of Japanese style and deposits them in the luscious tropical climate of South America?
That's exactly what the design firm 5 Sólidos (opens in new tab) have done, immersing the Japanese Refuge house in the stunning tropical forest scenery of Colombia. Nestled in the lush, forested hills between José Maria Córdova International Airport and the vibrant city of Medellín, this luxurious residence combines simple design elements to a spectacular effect, using the innovative and sustainable Neolith (opens in new tab) Sintered Stone throughout.
The property owner’s many visits to Japan, in which he fully immersed himself in the country’s unique culture, fostered a love for its distinctive architectural styles. He knew he wanted to bring some of this highly original aesthetic to the design of his personal retreat, where he could escape the intensity of everyday life.
Following this specific brief, 5 Sólidos embarked on extensive research into the materials and shapes that would help create the clean lines and appealing surfaces of this house.
Immersed in nature
Knowing Japanese culture holds a strong sense of respect for the natural world, the use of wood throughout the build was essential to maintain this connection to nature. Yakisugi, an ancient technique involving the burning and subsequent varnishing of wood, was used for the façade, creating a striking contrast against the natural oak tones which dominate the interior.
Building on the natural theme, Neolith stone was used throughout the Japanese Refuge. Completely natural and faithfully capturing the look of naturally-occurring stone, it combines the best of both world – an all-natural look that blends in with the landscape and durability.
Skylights were used throughout the property to maximise the daylight coming in, with shafts of light illuminating bathrooms and hallways.
A minimalist calm
Nothing is out of place inside this stunning home, with stunning fitted storage finished in wood creating a streamlined look. The dressing room provided a complex design challenge for the architects. The owner required storage for almost 700 pairs of shoes in this room, while preserving the overall minimalist look.
The kitchen also embraces this uncluttered, simple aesthetic further by combining Japanese and Scandinavian elements.
A modern take on a Zen garden
For us, though, it's the amazing garden that makes this house so special. A meditation on the four elements, the garden features an outdoor fireplace, a decking area, and the spectacular pool and water mirror. Everything has been designed to create a weightless, floating effect that aids contemplation and promotes a feeling of calm.
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