When an architect asks the wind, the earth, the heat of the sun and the cool of the shade to work with him, he is both a gentle and a powerful man. At Is Molas Massimiliano Fuksas, one of the greatest of contemporary architects, has created an extraordinary collection of villas inspired by the forces of nature and time. Houses as sculptures to live in, he has called them. Houses that listen to the landscape and to the history of the people who are going to inhabit them. And when nature and humanity come together, respect one another and speak to each other from the bottom of their hearts, heedless of the geological eras and the centuries to which they belong, then it means we are in Sardinia. The ideal world imagined by Massimiliano Fuksas stands at the heart of a 600- hectare estate of lush vegetation, just a few kilometres from Cagliari. Behind it rise the mountains of the Gutturu Mannu Park, one of the largest and most unspoiled in Europe, and its peaks and ancient trees provide shelter from currents of cold air and ensure the warmth of summer all year round. At the foot of each villa flowers a splendid private garden, merging into the glittering greenery of two golf courses unlike any other in the world. On the horizon, the blue of the sea and its crystal-clear waters. And then there are the stars, to contemplate, to count, to give to the person you love, lying on a roof that follows the curve of a wave and turns into an observatory of the heavens. Your breath comes easily, your heart is at peace, existence is a delight. Shaped by your desires alone.
Thousands of years ago this is what the beaches of Sardinia looked like, white and brilliant. And lapped by the most limpid of waters. A crystal-clear beauty that has remained unspoiled to the present day, just a few minutes from Is Molas.
›A diamond of sand. The enchanting beach of Tuerredda
// Just as the waves refresh the beach, the spectacular forest of Gutturu Mannu Park embraces the splendour of each villa. From the largest expense of Holm oaks in Europe to the herb gardens, nature is present at every hour of the day, a faithful friend. /
When people listen to nature, there is peace. And nature remembers this alliance, and offers its friends great benefits in return. Massimiliano Fuksas has explored the unspoiled landscapes of Southern Sardinia, where Is Molas is located, drawing the immense wealth of harmonious forms and lines that have shaped the beauty of this island over the millennia. The gently rolling dunes of Porto Pino, like a desert slaking its thirst in the sea. The crescents of water that reflect the light and frame the beach at Cala Giunco. And again the stunning granite rocks of Capo Teulada, that rise out of the water, driven by the primordial forces of creation. And then there are the enchanted mountains, hiding within them the Nuragic village of Tiscali, built in 1400 BCE and not discovered until the beginning of the 20th century. A wonder, a mystery. All his can be found in Fuksas’s precious sketchbooks, and it has all served to inspire the unique character of Is Molas and its architecture. In the first place the colours, those endless hues of sand, clay and rock that “sing” amidst the greenery of the private gardens and the ancient trees of the park. And then the sinuous, welcoming forms, born to look already old, worn by memory and millennia of civilization. Forms that open up to the sky and graze the earth. Isn’t it with this naturalness, after all, that you’d like to live every day of your life?
THERE’S NO GENTLER LINE THAN THE CONTOUR OF A BEACH THAT GIVES ITSELF TO THE SEA. AND THERE’S NO MORE RESOLUTE VERTICAL THAN A GRANITE CLIFF. REMOTE, FEMALE AND MALE FORMS, WELCOMING AND OF GREAT PERSONALITY, THAT INSPIRE THE BEAUTY OF IS MOLAS’S VILLAS.
› Sea and lagoon meet
at the marvellous beach of Cala Giunco
A SPECTACLE AT DAWN AND ANOTHER AT DUSK. THE SPECTACLE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS OF SUNSHINE THAT BRIGHTEN THE BLESSED LAND OF SOUTHERN SARDINIA. ANENDLESS SUMMER, RESPLENDENT IN ITS COLOURS AND FLAVOURS, THAT HERALDS THE GOLD OF AUTUMN AND THE LUSH GREEN OF SPRING
Illustration by Olivia A. Vighi
// They have the wisdom and power of the nuraghes. And like those masterpieces of Sardinian archaeology, the interiors of each villa, at once contemporary and ancient, modulate the space in a rhythm of curved lines, in which light and shade happily take turns. //
› The interior of the nuraghe of Santu Antine, at Torralba
When the land and the sea yield marvellous fruit, masterpieces are born in every season. A question of traditions, a question of a rural, pastoral and seafaring culture that has been able to hand down the wisdom of its customs and its flavours. In this too Sar- dinia is unique. It suffices to recall the benefits of the Mediterra- nean diet, on UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, of which this island is one of the principal exponents. And the words of the great Sardinian chefs who, before going on to work in famous Michelin-star restaurants, learned the fundamentals of every dish by watching their mothers, grandmothers, sometimes even their great-grandmothers cook. You need to have seen as a child the rapid gesture with which the perfect shape of the malloreddus is created. You need to have smelled the scents of the pastures to be able to recognize the place of origin of the finest cheeses, above all pecorino, whose history goes back for millennia. And you need to love the family and its rituals in order to come together to prepare porceddu, suckling piglet, and the endless types of freshly caught seafood, from lobsters to sea bass to bottarga. A pinch of aromatic herbs, the unmistakable crunch of pane carasau, a sip of wine – and Sardinian wineries are among the best on the Italian and international scene – and finally a sigh of happiness as you sample the sweetness of a seada, still hot from the pan. For many this is the splendid menu of a restaurant. For anyone staying at the exclusive marvel of Is Molas it is a dinner with the family, or among friends, prepared by a great chef, in the kitchen of your home.
// They are seasonal flavours, aromatic fruit and vegetables. They are masterworks of patience like
the great Sardinian wines, nowadays awarded prizes by international juries. And they are memories that turn into fragrant bread. At every moment of the year and the day, nature and history hold sway in the kitchen. //
// Diary of one day on your holiday. Breakfast at the villa, a stroll to the club house, the mountains on the horizon, the scent of the sea in the air, and you start to play. In your eyes, and in your heart, that wonderful sensation of having no limits on your space, your time, your imagination. //
// Simply spectacular. The 27 holes of the two courses at Is Molas, venue for the most demanding of Italian and international competitions, are the reward of every true golfer. To challenge your skill, the forces of Sardinian nature, generous and intense. At the level of great champions. //
// The motifs that decorate the furnishings, designed by Doriana Fuksas, are inspired by Sardinian handicrafts.And alongside them, a collection of contemporary objects and accessories, enhancing the unique qualities of each villa with their colours, the fluidity of their lines and the quality of their materials. //
// When does your real holiday start? When there are no more worries. When breakfast arrives with a smile and with the same smile the house is in perfect order again. And whether dinner is a family affair or amongst friends, a smile and a great chef prepares, in your kitchen, a little masterpiece. //
When the present cares about the remote past, myths are born. And so is a land, Sardinia, that has been able to preserve intact ceremonies that emerged together with the first sowing of grain, with the earliest form of bread, with the first gaze turned on the sky to look for a propitious sign. Every year this island of ancient peoples goes back to the roots of its history through its festivals. They start in February with the carnival at Ottana, when the merdules, priests wearing masks and the hides of sacred animals, call the boes, who are draped in cowbells, to order. And when the sound of the bells turns into the glitter of a silver star, it means that carnival is coming to an end and we are in Oristano, dazzled by the skill of the riders who impale the sartiglia at a gallop, thereby ensuring an abundant harvest. For centuries Sardinia has defended its treasures, which are its coasts, its herds, its nuraghes, like the spectacular one at Barumini, and its unrivalled wealth of culture. In the summer, in remembrance of ancient invasions, the most valorous “soldiers” of Sedilo compete in a race called the Ardia, symbolizing their protection of this small community and its age-old faith. And when the dust settles, the air is filled instead with the notes of a concert, a solo, a chorus of voices that rises from the stones of the Roman theatre of Nora to join the swash of the sea. How many extraordinary things happen just a few minutes from Is Molas. How wonderful it is to feel part of this never-ending history..
// At carnival time, when the winter is about to end and the fields are still silent, the Sartiglia is held in Oristano. The more stars lanced by the riders, the richer the harvest. And in memory of the raids of ancient invaders the Ardia is run at Sedilo, a frenzied gallop at the height of summer. //
// The first lights of evening herald the setting of the sun and the sky is reflected for the last time in the waters of a pool. The walls of the house hold the memory of the sun as you await the arrival of friends in a spacious living room. Silence, the coolness of the air, birdsong. It’s not a villa, it’s a world. //
© Pictures and concept Mauro Galligani
Text Laura Leonelli
Art director Francisco Romero
Project assistants Costanza Longhini, Nadia Reif
Printed by Grafiche Mariano