What do you get when you combine an unbeatable view and thoughtfully designed spaces? Art Villas Costa Rica, a small resort nestled in a lush jungle overlooking pristine beach Playa Hermosa. Czech practice Formafatal led the interior design and integrated architecture of the project – comprising three villas and a multi-functional pavilion on a 25,000-m2 site nearby Uvita – turning to Refuel Works and Archwerk Studio to conceive architectural concepts for two of the villas.

Art Villas Costa Rica is aimed at combining the adventure and thrill of the outdoors with the comforts of luxury hospitality, giving guests a meaningful, experiential stay. The villas – Art Villa, Atelier Villa and Coco Villa – are designed with different ‘attitudes’ in mind. The brand’s mission with its overarching programme reflects a tendency toward ‘slow hospitality’, a concept we discussed in detail with Claus Sendlinger during Frame Awards 2020.

A sculptural concrete structure devised by Refuel Works, Art Villa was the first of the buildings to be erected. Described as a ‘grand mansion’, the prominent two-storey villa is 570 m2, including five bedrooms and private bathrooms. A foyer, main living room, kitchen, dining room and roofed poolside terrace create spaces for togetherness, while a playroom for children, gym, dance hall, walk-in closet laundry room and utility rooms add to the offer.

Formafatal’s interiors are informed by the surrounding wilderness as well as the work of Brazilian architect Paulo Mendez da Rocha. The designers chose to leave the concrete walls raw, highlighting the chosen materials – teak wood, metal and linen – in addition to the greenery and water. Handmade Nicaraguan tiles and a jungle motif painted on the kitchen backsplash are among the custom elements to feature in the interiors.

Both Art Villa and Atelier Villa – the latter described by Formafatal as a ‘tropical minimalist’ space – are furnished primarily with bespoke pieces made by local craftsmen or manufactured in the Czech Republic. Complementing this furniture are armchairs developed by South American designers and architects, including Mula Preta Design and SDLZ.

In the Coco Villa, travellers can stay in five houses shaped like seed cones, built to immerse visitors in the outdoor environment. The multi-functional pavilion, dubbed the ‘Wing’, serves to host small-group retreats – collaborative events hosted with international artists, teachers and businesses – and weddings.


Read about more hospitality projects here.