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Hip to be Square, Turks and Caicos

rl_winter_2011_page_19_image_0001If luxe could kill, Windermere House in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, should be considered downright dangerous. Blazing the trail for contemporary Caribbean design, its sleek modernism is a bold celebration of the perpendicular and affirmation to one and all that white is the new black. Brainchild of Ron Shaw and the design cognoscenti at R.A. Shaw Designs, the private canal-front home eschews typical Caribbean forms in favour of a design aesthetic inspired by audacious geometrics and an intriguing exploration of line and point.

With formulaic methodology, multiple pyramid-over-square structures create an amalgam of ‘peaks’ of varying heights and sizes. “Mimicking nature, the structures emerge from the earth at low elevations around the perimeter and rise to the centre pinnacle much like a mountain peak,” states Shaw. Coupled with the dazzling white exterior, the Bermuda roof (devoid of eaves to underscore the contemporary styling) quietly anchors the design in a Caribbean context.

rl_winter_2011_page_19_image_0002In addition to a two-bedroom guesthouse, the three-bedroom, fourand- a-half bathroom home boasts 5,992 square feet of orderly precision with the inventive interplay of interior and exterior spaces creating a structure that, according to Shaw, “Lives many times larger than the space simply covered by the roof.” Characterised by bisecting diagonals, rectilinear angles, crisp lines and clean points, the home asserts a restrained sophistication, conveying a sleek, understated glamour in the simplicity and candid honesty of its uncomplicated features.

Adding an element of titillation, 90% black tinted glass, framed in black aluminium, significantly absorbs natural light from linear windows, some towering a dramatic two storeys in height. Nanawall bifolding window walls provide a uniform, clean finish, opening up the space and underscoring the uninterrupted boundaries between outside and in. Meticulously planned to facilitate ease of movement and energy between spaces, interiors seamlessly flow outdoors as seen in the kitchen where the folding glass wall opens out to create an extension of the exterior loggia. Interior Designer, Michael Brosche’s pairing of interior and exterior floor tiles and furnishings compounds this unity. As the owners state, “Every inch of the home involves outdoor living.”

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Arguably the most innovative pool design in the Caribbean, Windermere House’s calling card is the stunning 150-foot aqua ribbon that begins at the entrance. Cascading from the second floor, a waterfall pools around an intriguing cubed water sculpture, winding its way 55 feet beneath the house and culminating in an infinity edge at the canal. With pool, canal and 115-foot dock tied together architecturally, one’s eye is drawn from a horizontal level to a vertical plane as boundaries dissolve, accentuating purity of form in all its glory.

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Inside, large reflective milk-white floor tiles add lustre and sheen, amplifying the design scheme and providing the perfect foil for an inspired stitching of clear glass floor panels which reveal piercing glimpses of aquamarine underfoot and create the effect of hovering on air. A glass and chrome motif emphasises the contemporary drama of the abode, building lines and minimising distraction while occasional sand tones add warmth. Driven by clean lines and minimalist forms, furnishings throughout are in-built with floating cabinetry and chairs raised off the floor, while architectural interest is underscored in the recessed square ceiling panels and reveal baseboards. The linear elegance of the interior is illuminated indirectly eliminating the need for standing lamps. At night, interior floor lights wash up the walls and outside lighting bleeds out from beneath elevated pavers encircled by white marble stones as if the earth itself is aglow.

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A square peg in the conventional hole of Caribbean architecture, Windermere House stands pure in uncompromising integrity of form, function and essence. Its arresting virgin façade and crisp interior catapulting it to the forefront in a new generation of style, it stands as incontrovertible proof that it is hip to be square.

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