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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Design Drool: Javier Senosiain's Snail House

by: Kristine Hansen

For this totally offbeat home just outside of Mexico City, architect Javier Senosiain was inspired by a snail.

Architect Javier Senosiain was inspired by a snail's spiral shapel when he designed "The Nautilus," a residential property completed in Mexico City in 2007. "Nature is my biggest source of inspiration -- observing and not copying it," he says.

Javier-Senosiain Mexico City Nautilus Snail House

The exterior of a house called The Nautilus. Photo: Francisco Lubbert

And so the result is actually more than a snail, says Senosiain. It's about the fluid space along a coastline where that snail might lie, with lots of curves and hips in the home's shell, and the reflective sunlight bouncing off of the textured eggshell-colored walls and stained-glass windows. All of these elements remind Senosiain of an oceanfront setting where a sunrise might create colorful patterns on the grainy, sandy shoreline.

Owners Magali and Fernando Mayorga, who have two sons, requested a simple mother-of-pearl finish for their home's interior and exterior walls and ceilings, which Senosiain promptly delivered. The result is a walk through one of the oddest (and oddly beautiful) homes you've ever seen.

In looking over photos of this uniquely shaped home, we quickly came up with ideas on how to use the space.

Javier-Senosiain Mexico City Nautilus Snail House
Photo: Francisco Lubbert

Seriously, is there any room more colorful and sunnier than this one? The outdoors comes in, quite literally, with pockets of lush grass growing next to curvy couches. This is the ideal spot to sip morning coffee or afternoon tea. Even during a tropical rainstorm, one can keep dry indoors but still relish the sweet scent of rain.

Javier-Senosiain Mexico City Nautilus Snail House
Photo: Francisco Lubbert

I bet you've never seen a TV room like this one. We certainly haven't.

Senosiain calls this space the "belly" of the house. It's where the structure bloats outward. Perfect for hosting movie nights! Otherwise, the room could be used as a gathering space for a small, intimate party; the pinwheel seating style makes it easy to carry on a conversation with several guests.

Javier-Senosiain Mexico City Nautilus Snail House
Photo: Jaime Jacott

Peaceful naps and nighttime slumber wouldn't be a problem in this room since there is a lot less light than in other areas of the home.

The absence of stained-glass windows -- a dominant feature elsewhere in The Nautilus -- provides for more of a retreat-like space in the bedroom.

Mexico City Nautilus Snail House
Photo: Jaime Jacott (left) and Francisco Lubbert (right)

The home was designed to invite waves of rainbow-like color, as seen in the photo above left. Wouldn't this be a sweet spot to host a dance party? Who needs disco globes and smoke machines when you've got patterns of colorful light zipping across the floor and walls as twilight approaches?

On the right, a sink displays exquisite handicraft with small blue stones molded into Grancrete, also used to construct the home's exterior. The trickling sound of water helps cultivate a relaxing feeling, sure, but it also helps us to imagine the sounds a snail hears along the water. Pull up a chair next to this stone-and-gem work of art. Who needs a spa?