In Melides, 20 minutes from Comporta, these four raw concrete houses by the great Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus are a clean sweep of the past. An unprecedented interior-exterior dialogue. We tested it.
Four raw concrete houses clinging to the hillside, a maze of partitions and patios, huge bay windows, open views of the arid soil of the Alentejo, then the Atlantic horizon. Welcome to Pa.te.os, designed by the great Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus in Melides: “We wanted to make a clean sweep of the past, to imagine a contemporary ensemble that naturally links the interior and exterior, offering a new way of living in Alentejo,” say Sofia and Miguel Charter, the entrepreneurs behind this concept. This is not the first time the couple and the architect have worked together. Each time, the architectural emotion is there: “We want each visitor to feel the strength of the architecture, of the handmade concrete. Here at Pa.te.os, nothing is hidden, each element is reduced to its most essential form: the crossbeams are placed on the ground, the infinity pool reflects the sky, the cut walls frame the view”, explains the duo to life and to the city.
The magic of the architecture works: between hundred-year-old cork oaks, glowing earth and sparse endemic vegetation, one wanders around Pa.te.os as if discovering a private home signed by Tadao Ando or Peter Zumthor. One settles into the minimalist – but luxurious – interiors, takes a shower outside, lives to the rhythm of the sun that cuts shadows and floods the patios and vast living rooms with light. Customized service – breakfast, laundry, concierge service and massages on demand – ensures that nothing is missed. One would almost forget the passage of time.
A graphic dialogue between light and dark makes entering the villa’s patios a special experience hard to replicate. The combination of large and small openings in the architecture highlights the perpetual passage of time, by allowing sunlight to enter the courtyard, bring out the contours of its structure, and create geometric shapes and unique blends of color and depths on the exposed concrete walls. This provides the architecture with drama, structural richness, movement and an intriguing sense of mystery. Here, nature becomes part of the architecture, and vice-versa.
Though plain and minimalist, there is a luxurious elegance to the overall aesthetic of the interiors. From the heated polished concrete floors, to the soft curves of the fireplace, and the earthy color palette, everything soothes the body and mind. Sublime and fitted with immense care, the suites are a modern take on Scandinavian design and a compelling tale of tactility and texture. Design classics by Carl Hansen, Ferm Living, Menu, Gervasoni, and more, sit alongside textiles that adhere to the neutral hues for a feeling of tranquility and comfort, including prestigious linen sheets and incredibly soft towels. As a harmonizing presence that further connects the property to its environment’s heritage, there are also botanical prints in the kitchen and artworks by Olga Sanina in the living areas—a tribute to the region and its intriguing seasonality.
Estrada Nacional 261 – 2 Km 4, 7570-769 Melides, Portugal