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Beach House Escapism: Europe's Most Stylish Summer Living Spaces

Beach House Escapism: Europe's Most Stylish Summer Living Spaces

From a corners-averse Côte d'Azur palace to Capri's architectural modernist masterpiece — "one of the most captivating structures in the world" — we're taking you to five cutting-edge, over-the-top, historical (or, all three) seaside villas guaranteed to induce warm-weather home-envy.

 

The Bubble Palace

Théoule-sur-Mer, France

 

From a corners-averse Côte d'Azur palace to Capri's architectural modernist masterpiece — "one of the most captivating structures in the world" — we're taking you to five cutting-edge, over-the-top, historical (or, all three) seaside villas guaranteed to induce warm-weather home-envy.

 

 

The Bubble Palace

Théoule-sur-Mer, France

 

 

 

Complete in 1989 after 13 years of construction, the Bubble Palace, or le Palais Bulles, resembles exactly what the name suggests. Hungarian architect Antti Lovag (a self-described "habitologist"), who designed the cliff-top villa near Cannes to mimic prehistoric cave dwellings, was corner-phobic — "straight lines are an aggression against nature" — hence his signature circular, cellular style that critics either love or love to hate.

 

Long the summer home of iconic French couturier Pierre Cardin, the undulating residence hosted many a rocking Cannes after-party, not to mention James Bond's 40th birthday fête and Dior's spectacularly unforgettable 2015 cruise collection runway show. Recently on the market for $355 million, the pink palace is now available to rent for a reported $31,000 a night — you know, if you're looking for 13,000-square-feet of living space, three swimming pools, and a 500-seat amphitheater.

 

Complete in 1989 after 13 years of construction, the Bubble Palace, or le Palais Bulles, resembles exactly what the name suggests. Hungarian architect Antti Lovag (a self-described "habitologist"), who designed the cliff-top villa near Cannes to mimic prehistoric cave dwellings, was corner-phobic — "straight lines are an aggression against nature" — hence his signature circular, cellular style that critics either love or love to hate.

 

Long the summer home of iconic French couturier Pierre Cardin, the undulating residence hosted many a rocking Cannes after-party, not to mention James Bond's 40th birthday fête and Dior's spectacularly unforgettable 2015 cruise collection runway show. Recently on the market for $355 million, the pink palace is now available to rent for a reported $31,000 a night — you know, if you're looking for 13,000-square-feet of living space, three swimming pools, and a 500-seat amphitheater.

 

Casa Malaparte

Capri, Italy

Casa Malaparte

Capri, Italy

What Architectural Digest calls "one of the most captivating and unusual structures in the world," Capri's Casa Malaparte was the minimalist brainchild of Italian writer Curzio Malaparte, who, upon the lifting of a Mussolini-imposed banishment to a desolate island, sought to re-capture that remote lifestyle on top of a cinematic Punta Massullo cliff, a vista made notorious by a bronzed, topless, and lovelorn Brigitte Bardot seeking the sun on the villa's rooftop in Jean-Luc Godard's cult 1963 New Wave drama, Contempt (FYI, the trailer is regarded by movie buffs at the "greatest French movie trailer ever made.")

 

An architectural holy grail for luxury fashion brands — Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent (one-and-a-half minutes of peak Kate Moss), and Zegna have all filmed moody shorts here — the villa, constructed in 1937, can only be visited from afar by boat or, if you've got those connections, by securing a private invite from the Malaparte family.

What Architectural Digest calls "one of the most captivating and unusual structures in the world," Capri's Casa Malaparte was the minimalist brainchild of Italian writer Curzio Malaparte, who, upon the lifting of a Mussolini-imposed banishment to a desolate island, sought to re-capture that remote lifestyle on top of a cinematic Punta Massullo cliff, a vista made notorious by a bronzed, topless, and lovelorn Brigitte Bardot seeking the sun on the villa's rooftop in Jean-Luc Godard's cult 1963 New Wave drama, Contempt (FYI, the trailer is regarded by movie buffs at the "greatest French movie trailer ever made.")

 

An architectural holy grail for luxury fashion brands — Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent (one-and-a-half minutes of peak Kate Moss), and Zegna have all filmed moody shorts here — the villa, constructed in 1937, can only be visited from afar by boat or, if you've got those connections, by securing a private invite from the Malaparte family.

 

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

The moneyed enclave of St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat plays host to this pink confection, a 100,000-square-foot (yes, you read that right) Venetian-style palais perched atop 17 acres of lush, rose-scented gardens that command technicolor azure views of the Baie de l'Espalmador. Built between 1905 and 1912 by art collector Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild — the Belle Epoque's version of a girl boss — the estate is filled with a clutch of Old Masters, priceless Sèvres porcelain, and 'gram-ready water features (the star of many a jet-set wedding).

The moneyed enclave of St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat plays host to this pink confection, a 100,000-square-foot (yes, you read that right) Venetian-style palais perched atop 17 acres of lush, rose-scented gardens that command technicolor azure views of the Baie de l'Espalmador. Built between 1905 and 1912 by art collector Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild — the Belle Epoque's version of a girl boss — the estate is filled with a clutch of Old Masters, priceless Sèvres porcelain, and 'gram-ready water features (the star of many a jet-set wedding).

 

House Of The Infinite

Cádiz, Spain

House Of The Infinite

Cádiz, Spain

Not so much home as "landscape architecture," Alberto Campo Baeza's "House of the Infinite" in Cádiz, Spain, was, according to the Spanish creative, "designed as a jetty facing out to sea...a horizontal plane, bare and denuded, to the distant horizon." Built in 2014 by his eponymous firm — "the most radical residence we ever made," says Campo Baeza — the residence was constructed in travertine, "a stone acropolis" to honor the Romans, who had erected a nearby temple centuries ago. The roof and its sunken swimming pool are the main event, with the rest of the structural elements and living space located beneath for a clean design that seamlessly extends into the surrounding coastline.

Not so much house as "landscape architecture," Alberto Campo Baeza's "House of the Infinite" in Cádiz, Spain, was, according to the Spanish creative, "designed as a jetty facing out to sea...a horizontal plane, bare and denuded, to the distant horizon." Built in 2014 by his eponymous firm — "the most radical house we ever made," says Campo Baeza — the residence was constructed in travertine, "a stone acropolis" to honor the Romans, who had erected a nearby temple centuries ago. The roof and its sunken swimming pool are the main event, with the rest of the structural elements and living space located beneath for a clean design that seamlessly extends into the surrounding coastline.  

 

Savin Couëlle Sculpture House

Cavallo Island, Corsica, France

Savin Couëlle Sculpture House

Cavallo Island, Corsica, France 

If reclusive with a side of rugged topography is your thing, Savin Couëlle's '90s pad south of Corsica on the tiny, rocky island of Cavallo, will take you there. A see-it-to-believe-it feat of design constructed by the son of legendary French architect Jacques Couëlle, the villa was conceived to be an organic "sculpture" overlooking the sea (and, of course, its own fine sand beach and private boat dock). "For me," says Couëlle, "houses only work if they fit so naturally into the landscape that they become almost invisible. I wanted this house to be a kind of extension of the sea, like a harbor—invaded by water yet safe from it."

 

If reclusive with a side of rugged topography is your thing, Savin Couëlle's '90s pad south of Corsica on the tiny, rocky island of Cavallo, will take you there. A see-it-to-believe-it feat of design constructed by the son of legendary French architect Jacques Couëlle, the villa was conceived to be an organic "sculpture" overlooking the sea (and, of course, its own fine sand beach and private boat dock). "For me," says Couëlle, "houses only work if they fit so naturally into the landscape that they become almost invisible. I wanted this house to be a kind of extension of the sea, like a harbor—invaded by water yet safe from it."