When architect David Konwiser invited me and my husband to spend a few days experiencing his newest creation, Villa la Isla in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica we were giddy with excitement. We had covered a number of events at his first Villa Punto de Vista and were eager to see what kind of upgrade David had dreamed up this time. In truth, when he showed us the building site a year ago, back when it was just a pile of rebar and steel beams, I was quietly skeptical. The location should be any architects nightmare; perched on the side of an impossibly steep incline of jungle. Sure the view was spectacular, but what are you supposed to do with the side of a cliff?
I am used to being wrong, but this time I was so very off the mark. The Villa la Isla achieves exactly what all the greatest modern architects have taught us; that the greatest works of modern design are born from, and enhance, the natural elements they reside in. Whether you are strolling though Ghery’s Getty Museum in Los Angeles or Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water we are seduced into a greater appreciation for the natural world through a clever arrangement of architectural elements. This is exactly where Villa la Isla leaves you; in awe and wonder of Costa Rica’s majestic beauty.
Upon entering Konwiser’s Villa la Isla you float around various levels of the rainforest canopy overlooking a shining sapphire pacific ocean. Everything about the building allows you to experience the view, the rainforest, and the dramatic landscape with the freedom of a bird. If you want to really take off, just swim out to the edge of the infinity pool and you will have the sensation of flying over the jungle as howler monkeys literally walk right up to you from the branches of the trees.
Whether you are practicing yoga on the patio, lounging by the pool, or just taking a shower, every corner of the Villa manages to offer another breathtaking encounter with nature.
But the real charm of Konwiser’s Villa la Isla lies in how the space invites us to engage with this dramatic beauty from the vantage of a truly comfortable home. Every detail is infused with a mid-century modern aesthetic that makes you want to throw back a scotch like a character from Madmen who got to take a work trip to the tropics. Each room is accented with retro onyx lanterns, sleek partitioned sofas, celadon tiles, balinese bamboo matting, and floating glass rails. The cumulative effect is a space that classic but understated so as to not distract from the real attraction; the epic view.
While boldly modern, nothing about the layout is remotely boxy or predictable. The unassuming entrance opens up to a grand veranda and bar where the view of Manuel Antonio’s coastal island is perfectly framed by the glass balcony. A stone stairway leads you deep into the heart of the structure where the flow to and from each of the three levels is so organic that you can easily forget which one you are on. Egyptian stone, Italian ceramic, and exotic wood cladding offer a dazzling display of texture and light at every turn. There is even a glass room perched over the massive living space perfect for enjoying a massage or hosting your favorite DJ playing to your guests below. And with 8 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, an entertainment suite, pool, patio, and state of the art kitchen you can easily throw one wild party.
The villa is located just a 2 minute ride from the entrance of the famous Manuel Antonio National Park where tens of thousands of nature lovers and adventure seekers flock each year to experience the most pristine white sand beaches, baby sloths, and giant iguanas. There is so much to do in Manuel Antonio on any given day many a tourist find themselves with the dilemma of deciding between zip-lining through the rainforest canopy, fishing for Mahi Mahi, or parasailing on the back of a speed boat, kayaking, snorkeling, or just working on your tan. It can be tough to fit it all in. At least at Villa la Isla you will always feel that you are experiencing something extraordinary, even if you hardly ever leave. For more info check out www.villapuntodevista.com