Costa Smeralda Architectural Style

December 1st, 2020

Soft, delicate, and harmonious lines, tenuous colors, natural and refined materials, wandering through the alleys of Costa Smeralda is like getting lost in an open-air art gallery, where architecture is the undisputed queen.

The Costa Smeralda style was born on March 17, 1962, when the visionary inventor and founder of the Costa Smeralda, Prince Karim Aga Khan, brought together the best architects of the time, Michele Busiri Vici, Jacques Couëlle, Luigi Vietti, Raymond Martin and Antonio Simon Mossa , for the first Architecture Committee meeting, wanted by the members of the Costa Smeralda Consortium.

The “Comitato di Architettura”, guardian of the beauty and style of Costa Smeralda, represents the control and protection body of real estate development within the Consortium’s borders.

All projects subject to a municipal building permit, pass through the Architecture Committee’s desks, which is responsible for approving, rejecting or requesting changes to projects, to preserve local architectural traditions and harmony with the surrounding nature.

This protection and defense body is unique within Mediterranean tourist destinations, which makes the Costa Smeralda an icon of style that goes far beyond the Mediterranean borders.

According to the French historian Simone Gerlat, the functions of the Architecture Committee are similar to the French art academies established in the seventeenth century, created to monitor and protect the stylistic thread that distinguishes a particular current, which in this case manifests itself in an architecture unique and recognizable from all over the world.

The Costa Smeralda style expresses a Mediterranean spirit that winks at local tradition, a perfect homogeneous synthesis between the different sensibilities of the architects who have contributed, and a generous and extraordinary nature.

According to Vietti, the rugged vegetation of Gallura, especially its junipers, inspired the design of this movement.

The guidelines of the Costa Smeralda style are very precise and codified by the Building Regulations, which protect the urban development of the territory:

  • Soft, sinuous and never squared lines
  • Respect for the serenity of the landscape
  • Soft, pastel and never vivid colours
  • Use of the local stone par excellence, the famous Gallura granite
  • Use of juniper and local hand-carved woods

The result is a unique style that gives the area an unmistakable identity, a real trademark of elegance.

Respect and harmony with natural beauty, almost with a sense of sacrality, is the dominant feature of the Costa Smeralda style. This feature is also evident in the construction of “not seen” villas perched on the rocky hills, that follow the course of the land and vegetation and almost never rise more than two floors above the ground level. In this way the buildings are perfectly integrated into the context, without obstructing the view of the nearby buildings.

Over the last few years the Costa Smeralda style, especially as regards the interiors, has also left room for more decisive lines and the integration of materials with an industrial character, widely used in the latest frontiers of design, which opens the way to the evolution of a style that, in any case, maintains its strong personality and identity.

M. Carta

Sources: Consorzio Costa Smeralda