The birth of Costa Smeralda in the early ’60s wasn’t just a political and economic phenomenon, but a real cultural revolution. It marked the beginning of a new tourist development in the area and attracted, thanks to the figure of the patron Karim Agha Khan, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, and groups of philanthropists from all over the world, who worked together to transform 5000 acres of unspoiled land in one of the most prestigious coasts of the Mediterranean.
From the beginning, they acted respecting the environment and its ecosystem, making it accessible with the necessary infrastructures. To ensure a sustainable development, regulations on landscape protection and laws to defend the costal heritage were issued since the 70’s.
The first settlements like Porto Cervo, were designed by architects such as Luigi Vietti, Jacques Cuelle, Michele Busiri Vici etc. that gave birth to the so-called Mediterranean style, distinctive of Costa Smeralda and based on simple shapes, repeated arches, evident volumes, and pastel-colored plaster to pursue a “natural” integration with the territory.
The development designed by these artists had as common guidelines a deep respect for nature together with great attention in the choice of materials, and the use of simple and elitist architectural formulas, designed to enhance the natural environment. Starting from that base they tried to give their own personal and professional touch, creating unique architectural episodes, quite original.
The architecture of Jacques and Savin Cuelle, father and son, original artists from Swiss, is characterized by plasticity and creativity in the use of building elements and materials, which creates a constant contamination between the arts of sculpture and architecture. Often, their construction takes the form of sculptures where the stiffness of lines and angles gives way to soft, rounded lines.
Great attention is given to the use of materials typical of the area, especially granite and wood, building edifices with curved lines, vaulted ceilings, twisted juniper beams, unique niches and many elaborate details using rare materials.
Jean-Claude Lesuisse, Savin Cuelle’s student, takes inspiration from natural elements like sea wind and rocks, trying to catch nature’s breath and movement and to express them in a spontaneous architecture which constantly listen to nature and men, undermining the old standards and the so-called mental symmetries: an organic architecture in an original and preserved environment.
Luigi Vietti, designer of some of the most famous venues in Porto Cervo was perhaps the most careful interpreter of Mediterranean style, creating masterpieces such as the village of Porto Cervo and numerous residential complexes, characterized by wide open spaces and an innovative concept of luxury, based on the essentiality of expressive forms and the use of quality materials.
Michele Busiri Vici has developed a unique style inspired by Mediterranean Architecture, characterized by extremely soft architectural forms, exterior coated with plaster, and repeated decorative elements (such as chimneys, the arches, triangular slots, the tile and ceramics Mediterranean) which make a decisive contribution to the creation of the contemporary landscape of Costa Smeralda.
In addition to the unique natural features, that have made it famous throughout the world, Sardinia boasts a remarkable architectural heritage, which over time has influenced its urban development, trying to capture and return the most authentic aspects of this land.