Stera Architectures Crafts a Jaw-Dropping Seaside Villa in Sardinia, Italy
Stefania Stera has visited Sardinia all of her life. Born in Rome, the architect has lived in Genoa, Venice, Paris, and Fort-de-France, Martinique, but she always returns to the rugged Mediterranean island, where her family owns a granite quarry and has a house. “I’m very attached to my Sardinian origins,” confesses Stera, who founded her Paris-based firm, Stera Architectures, in 1992. As a child in the 1960s, she scrambled over the rocks, admired Cini Boeri’s brutalist Bunker House from the beach, and saw northeast Sardinia transform into a chic resort: the Costa Smeralda, or Emerald Coast. Decades later, Stera paid homage to her beloved landscape in a three-level, seven-bedroom villa in the town of Porto Cervo.Stera had previously designed a house for the clients in Paris and understood their needs, so they largely gave her free rein with the 60-acre property. “They wanted a contemporary design inspired by the architecture of the Costa Smeralda,” she explains. Starting in the early 1960s, the Aga Khan developed this 35-mile stretch of pristine coastline into something of an anti-Riviera; strict planning guidelines called for low-slung buildings nestled into their surroundings. The development’s architects—including Jacques and Savin Couëlle, Michele Busiri Vici, and Luigi Vietti—used local materials and referenced vernacular structures. Stera, who had grown up visiting the construction sites of early hotels, aimed to create a “poetic link” with the Aga Khan’s vision.A juniper driftwood chandelier by Davide Groppi hangs above the custom oak dining table. Photography by Matthieu Salvaing.