Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dakar Sow

A view from the family room terrace looking back at the main house and rim flow pool cantilevering over the cliff edge.
The view of the decked and landscaped pool terrace looking at the study annex and linking gallery hallway.
Situated on a cliffside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Villa Sow in Dakar, Senegal was completed in 2011, with SAOTA - Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects, the Architects and ANTONI ASSOCIATES doing the Interior Decor. The house was designed for a Senegalese businessman and his family.

The feature roof cantilevers over the pool terrace framing the dramatic Atlantic views.
Built on the site of an old World War Two bunker and on the edge of a cliff, Villa Sow maximises its commanding position to create a house  that is not only dramatic but with the incorporation of historical elements quite magical and mysterious. Part of the old bunker has been retained and a portion of it now houses an underground cinema that opens up into a water courtyard /moat that runs along the boundary creating a water feature at the gateway to the property. It is connected back to the house via a timber panelled walkway leading to a spiral staircase that runs from the lower ground through to the first floor and second floor levels of the villa.

Geometric patterns of light lead one through an underground tunnel linking the villa to the cinema located in part of the old bunker.
 ‘Whilst the cliffside site presented an extraordinary opportunity for a house on the edge of Dakar’s CBD, the slowly eroding nature of the cliff face required a very carefully considered structural solution.’ says Greg Truen, Project Partner, 'resulting in a building design that seemed to float off the cliff’s edge’.

The ground floor of the house, designed to facilitate seamless indoor and outdoor living and entertainment, is arranged in an L shape around the pool, the pool terrace and the garden. The formal Living and Dining spaces cantilever over the cliff and hang over the Atlantic Ocean enjoying panoramic sea views as well as views back to the house.

Continuity of water and structure is carried through into the architecture where the swimming pool envelopes the building edge.
 The Kitchen is made up of a so called ‘American’ or open kitchen and a separate traditional kitchen as well as the garage  and staff facilities run along the east west axis and along the northern side of the boundary. From the Entrance one moves past the sculptural circular stair to the Entertainment Room and the double volume Family Lounge which connects up with a floating stair to the upper level Pyjama Lounge. The Main and the two children’s bedrooms are placed on this upper level.

The signature kitchen leads directly onto the barbeque and entertainment room.
 ‘The  huge overhanging roof  which projects over the upper level and the outdoor living level creates a dramatic double volume outdoor space and gives the entire home a sense of unity’ says partner Stefan Antoni. 
A view of the main villa and its featured cantilevered roof which exaggerates the architectural lines and emphasises the siting of the structure on the cliffside.
One of the features of the house is the spiral staircase, clad in stainless steel, while the treads are clad in white granite. To add to the sense of continuity between the levels the 20mm in diameter stainless steel rods run from the first floor handrail to the lower ground floor, thus making the stairwell look like a sculptural steel cylinder. A skylight above the stairwell as well as floor to ceiling glazing in the lounges adds to the sense of transparency.

The feature stainless steel sculptured cylindrical staircase punctures through the three levels of the villa.
A secondary featured floating stair links the private upper level with the formal living room and gallery hallway.
A raised timber platform and canopy add warmth to the master bedroom.
The Main Bedroom Suite opens up onto a large terrace which is the roof of the more formal living wing of the house and the element which projects over to the ocean. The Main Bathroom opens into a private garden and outdoor shower situated over the garages. The study / office sits in a separate block and is joined to the main house by a hallway running along the spine of the building. Under the study/office is a separate fully contained guest room, alongside which is a private gym and reflecting pond. 

A view from the driveway forecourt showcasing the stone clad floating gallery wall linking the main house and study annex.
The sculptural modernist exterior and shell is counter balanced with the use of warm and textured materials and finishes. Hardwood timber decks contrast with the textured granite internal floors. Natural timber wall panelling contrasts with the beaten and polished stainless steel panels as well as the black Nero Marquina marble and duco / glass kitchen joinery. Rough cut quarried stone finishes contrast with smooth marble surfaces.      

The material selection for the house provided the ideal backdrop for ANTONI ASSOCIATES to make their selection of furniture and decor, from a Carolina Sardi wall installation in the kitchen to the AA designed timber installation in the hallway.

“Throughout the villa, modern works of art, many of which are from the client’s private collection, sit comfortably within this luxury residence, creating an intention that is decidedly sleek and contemporary” says Mark Rielly of ANTONI ASSOCIATES.

Roof Level
Lower Ground
Ground Level
First Level


  1. I am in love with everything your firm has created. What talent! Dream places.

  2. wow, great job guys, i'm inspired by your designs guys, this is truly great motivation for aspiring interior architects like my self.

  3. Very impressive. The stainless steel supports for the circular stair case give the impression of a cage though. Maybe it feels different in real life.