When I think of the South of France, here’s what I picture: sprawling, pristine vineyards. Centuries-old chateaus, regal and immense and charming beyond imagination. My four-month-old nephew crying incessantly next to me in the back of a Citroen while his parents bickered in the front seat during a particularly stressful day of driving on a family trip to Provence. Also, good cheese. And, sadly, Russell Crowe.
What doesn’t come to mind is a compact, stark white vision of geometric minimalism. But that’s exactly what French architecture firm ARTELABO have concocted in the tiny village of Gignac.
Dubbed the “Quiet House” by its designers, the home was devised to fit on a small plot of land between an in-use vineyard shed and a neighbour’s parking area.
At once a contrast and homage to the traditional constructions that largely populate the village — some of which date back as far as the 13th century — the diminutive abode utilizes typical Southern French building materials (masonry, plaster and tiled roofs) in a distinctly modern context.
The house is structured around three open-air courtyards, which allows for some serious natural light to pour inside through a series of sliding glass doors. A massive window in the living area, meanwhile, reveals a panoramic view of the breathtaking French countryside in the valley below.
Given its alluring contemporary aesthetic and inherent tranquility, this place is almost peaceful enough to make me forget my nephew’s unceasing screams on that fateful four-hour drive. [*shudders*] Almost.