Casa M

Melides, Portugal
Vincent Van Duysen
Ricardo Labougle

Casa M sits on a large, wooded lot in Melides, Portugal. Large pine trees loom over the sandy soil, casting shadows across the site. The home is ideally positioned for a vacation home: sun, sand, and wind wash across the dwelling, the perfect elements for relaxation. The residence was designed by Vincent Van Duysen, a Belgian architect specialising in timeless and tactile design in architecture, interiors, and products. Van Duysen believes in contextual design, drawing inspiration from physical space, natural light, and tradition.

Like all Van Duysen’s designs, Casa M prioritises functionality while embracing a bold aesthetic. The structure references brutalist design and masterpieces such as Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch and Casa Malaparte. Casa M is styled in Van Duysen’s own style of warm brutalism—an aesthetic that focuses on the purity of structure, material, and texture.

The exterior of Casa M is quite unassuming, due in part to its camouflage ability to blend into the surroundings. The facade gets its sandy colour from unsealed, tinted concrete. The unique treatment of the concrete lends a contemporary air to the home, while the colour feels like a reference to regional materials. The exterior materials palette has the effect of making the home look entirely natural as if it was born of the environment rather than introduced to it. Casa M, with its humble exterior appearance, is a sanctuary for the landscape around it. The unobtrusive building nearly disappears into the forest, shifting the focus from the man-made to the organic. Unlike many others, the lush, regional vegetation easily takes centre stage, providing Casa M with an idyllic setting.

While Casa M’s exterior focuses on perfecting one material, the interior revolves around joining several materials together in absolute harmony. Soft tile floors, poured concrete, and light wood panelling provides a backdrop for furniture and textiles. The secret to success here is in the colours and textures. The light palette of neutrals and nature-found materials blend without competing. The result is an absolutely stunning interior—eye candy that captivates at every turn.

A cubist-styled fireplace takes centre stage, situated just between the living room and dining rooms. The furnishings are few yet impeccable. The dining table is fashioned from deep mahogany wood. A Noguchi lantern hangs above it, illuminating the shining wood. The rest of the furniture continues in this vein. The coffee tables, chairs, and even the couch are carefully curated and high-design.

The entirety of Casa M has an ethereal and sculptural quality. The home feels halfway between art and design, yet there is not a single component of Casa M that puts form over function.

In the shop