Illuminating Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor’s Remote English Retreat

  • Step inside a home shaped by light. Designed by esteemed Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, we uncover the narrative behind this iconic English home and its unique ties with Viabizzuno lighting.

    Described as one of the greatest designers at work in the world today, Swiss architect Peter Zumthor is famously selective over the commissions he agrees to work on. This is partly what makes Chilvelstone House, set on top of the rolling Devon countryside, so awe-inspiring. There are, of course, plenty of other reasons that this pioneering home delivers on when it comes to an iconic design.

    Not only did Chilvelstone House take a decade to build using a hand-rammed concrete technique, but it’s also Zumthor’s first home on English soil, a home commissioned (no less) by philosopher Alain de Botton. And finally, this is a home celebrated and lit throughout by acclaimed Italian lighting designer Viabizzuno.

    Forging a design-led collaboration that honours Zumthor and Viabizzuno founder Mario Nanni’s, mutual philosophies, we take a closer look at the unique craftsmanship behind Chilvelstone House.

    In partnership with vboaustralia

    Overlooking the lush South Devon hills above the small Hamlet of Chivelstone, this contemporary, five-bedroom home showcases it’s layered-concrete and glass design. Framing views across the countryside in all directions, Chilvestone House serves to ‘highlight the presence of light and passing of time, from dawn to dusk’.

    Handrammed concrete informs both the interior and exterior spaces, offering a monolithic-like volume and a scale that is characteristic of Peter Zumthor’s portfolio. The eighth and final property under de Botton’s progressive ‘Living Architecture’ collection of holiday rentals, the home is designed to endorse modern architecture and offer guests the chance to experience the spiritual effects of thoughtful and considered architecture.

    Entirely connected to its environment, two low, self-supporting bedroom wings sit adjacent to one other on 120-degree angles. The two roofs from each wing perforate the glazing of the generous main living space. Under an innovative, cantilevered concrete roof sits a modern open kitchen, dining and living space complete with fireplace.

    “Light discovers and reads architecture. Light and material accompany each other.”


    – Mario Nanni, Founder of Viabizzuno

    Viabizzuno’s Fiore floor lamps were designed in close collaboration with Peter Zumthor and highlight reading points around the living space.

    Peter is widely recognised for his artistry and craftsmanship in the use of materials, which give his projects an enduring quality. Fortunately, Peter’s attention to detail inside is just as ingenious. Joining forces with Viabizzuno to design all of the lighting featured in Chivelstone House was a clever move in honouring and respecting the beauty of this architectural masterpiece.

    The original Maestro of light; Mario Nanni is the founder behind Italian-based Viabizzuno; a globally-recognised architectural lighting firm that shares fundamental design philosophies with Zumthor. Mario Nanni believes that “Architecture is a projection of light” and that too often light is a corrective measure to hide or improve something that has already taken shape. Mario embraces the ethos that “The light that is invisible yet sensible, becomes a material, hence it is necessary to build with light…”

    While the entrance to Chivelstone House is gently illuminated by a series of flowering Campanula Lamps, three Candele di Vals mark the front door. Suspended beneath the vast living room ceiling is Viabizzuno’s Vello pendant covered in Shetland wool, creating warmth over a timber table designed by Peter.

    Perfectly aligned to Peter’s architecture, Viabizzuno brings an unassuming, magical quality to the fore. Together, there is a beautiful synergy and narrative between Peter Zumthor’s architecture, Viabizzuno lighting and the landscape that inspires both.

    Explore Viabizzuno lighting exclusively through vboaustralia in the est product library.

    While Viabizzuno‘s Campanula lights in burnished aluminium illuminate the passage that leads to the entrance, the Maniglia Spotlights highlight the Monterey Pine Trees that surround the home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enquire Now