Framing the Landscape and Capturing Light, a Photographer’s Home and Studio Echoes His Work

By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
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A photographer’s summer retreat in the seaside town of Loctudy, France, is an elegant, architectural metaphor for the importance of light, perspective, and framing in his craft.

When a photographer specializing in architectural work approached Studio Razavi Architecture for a summer home and studio, he envisioned a wood-clad construction on a small plot of land in Brittany, France. What he got was wildly different from his proposal—yet perfectly suited to his needs.

From a constricted entryway without a lot of natural light, the passageway fans upwards towards the landscape. Throughout the home, simple neon lights on unpainted plaster walls produce a warm glow. Explains Alireza Razavi, director of Studio Razavi Architecture, "The Dan Flavin-ist quality of the neon bulbs perfectly lit the space without focusing your attention on the fixture."

From a constricted entryway without a lot of natural light, the passageway fans upwards towards the landscape. Throughout the home, simple neon lights on unpainted plaster walls produce a warm glow. Explains Alireza Razavi, director of Studio Razavi Architecture, "The Dan Flavin-ist quality of the neon bulbs perfectly lit the space without focusing your attention on the fixture."

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The 1,130-square-foot home features a spacious main living area with deliberately placed windows that frame the views. "Photography is all about framing," says Razavi. "It's as much about what you're not including in the picture as it is about what you're including." Likewise, the openings add intrigue to the rural landscape.

The 1,130-square-foot home features a spacious main living area with deliberately placed windows that frame the views. "Photography is all about framing," says Razavi. "It's as much about what you're not including in the picture as it is about what you're including." Likewise, the openings add intrigue to the rural landscape.

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The residence is a striking geometric form made of two white volumes, one of which is the living space, and one of which serves as the photographer’s studio. The entryway is a compressed space that gradually fans upward as it feeds into the main room, building in volume and light. "We knew we were taking a risk," says Alireza Razavi, director of Studio Razavi Architecture. The client had requested wood to give the house more scale, but Razavi encouraged him to instead sculpt the landscape through structural means. "It won him over, the idea that you celebrate a small plot of land by creating an experience, and that architecture provides a richer space." 

A bench by a window on the southern facade provides a sunny perch for reading, sipping coffee, or playing guitar. 

A bench by a window on the southern facade provides a sunny perch for reading, sipping coffee, or playing guitar. 

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A C500 wood-burning stove from Contura creates a cozy atmosphere.

A C500 wood-burning stove from Contura creates a cozy atmosphere.

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A sleek, minimal kitchen with lacquered MDF cabinets provides a glossy contrast to the unpainted walls.

A sleek, minimal kitchen with lacquered MDF cabinets provides a glossy contrast to the unpainted walls.

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Likewise, the constellation of openings in the house both responds to and enhances the surroundings. The home sits next to a farm, which provides an ever-changing field environment. "Because of these vast expanses of wheat, there was a risk of the landscape becoming bland," says Razavi. He decided against oversized panes of glass. "By discreetly framing it, we brought more attention to it by essentially photographing the landscape at different angles. You’re rediscovering the details and poetics of it." To illustrate his point, he showed his client Card Game, Zushi, Kanagawa by Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu, an example of composition elevating a mundane scene.

The children's room features a bunk space for friends to sleep over.

The children's room features a bunk space for friends to sleep over.

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"By discreetly framing [the landscape], we brought more attention to it...rediscovering the details and poetics of it." - Alireza Razavi

Sliding glass panels lead onto to a generous deck, which lays ensconced in the field.

Sliding glass panels lead onto to a generous deck, which lays ensconced in the field.

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The residence seems to morph when viewed from different angles.

The residence seems to morph when viewed from different angles.

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In the home and studio, the windows are also strategically placed to capture light as it evolves throughout the day, creating a changing interior environment that is conducive to the client’s work.

"Brittany has sort of a microclimate," says Razavi. "The weather constantly changes here. Being able to capture what's going on outside is really what makes the space special."

"Brittany has sort of a microclimate," says Razavi. "The weather constantly changes here. Being able to capture what's going on outside is really what makes the space special."

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Studio Razavi Architecture uploaded House For a Photographer through Add a Home. Add your own project for the chance to be featured.  

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Jenny Xie

@jxie

Branded Content Manager at Dwell

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