For many of us in these busy times, the main meal of the day is all too often a nostalgic memory of family gathering a long time ago, usually on a Sunday in a formal dining room. We have always attempted to give the dining room the respect it deserves, and are proud to show off the best of our dining rooms, from classical and formal to multipurpose and funky.
Article by Vivion O’Kelly
It’s all about entertaining, both as a family unit and with guests, because the eating experience is not just a catchphrase promoting a posh restaurant, but an experience we can all enjoy every day. And we can enjoy it better if the dining room has been designed for purpose. That means a place we feel so comfortable in that we are invariably inclined to linger and converse long after the plates have been cleared.
The kitchen may be the heart of the house, but the dining room is its spiritual soul, where family and friends can discuss the latest trivia or sort out the problems of the world. This is living at its very best, and it deserves the very best of surroundings.
Here are our top 10 dining rooms:
La Zagaleta 1
The first villa we wrote about in the first edition of UD Magazine set the tone for the kind of dining rooms we design. Its dining room is warm, bright and comfortable, creating an intimate space from where diners can look past the olive tree on the terrace to the Mediterranean below, through a wall of glass that separates inside from out in a way we could easily fail to notice. The high ceiling provides a sense of spaciousness, and the long table with seats only on both sides means that the view outwards is not blocked by an end-table diner.
This once-seen-never-forgotten dining room is a very traditional space designed to reflect the old-world opulence of an exclusive listed building in London’s Eaton Square. The formal dining room was indeed that: to be used only on formal occasions and completely separate from other rooms, with a full dining area also in the kitchen and on the patio. Here, the gold-plated Walter Knoll chairs work beautifully with the minimalist marble table underneath the dew-drop chandelier.
A fairly recent UDesign dining room is that in the Garden Villa, different in overall design from its more formal Eaton Square colleague, but with the same level of design perfection. Symmetry is the key design element in this simple and elegant dining space, where nothing detracts from the giant gong centred on the large square of marble against the end wall. The dark round table has low seating, taking full advantage of the views into the illuminated interior garden. Over the table is a wide chandelier with clusters of glass dipping in an irregular pattern, like a sudden snowfall frozen in time.
This is a dining room without walls and a door, because here, nature is all around you and the dining space becomes part of it. It is an essential part of a bigger entity, with a spectacular wall divider separating it from the rest of the ground floor.. The low, minimalist table and snug chairs – part armchair, part dining chair – allow for clear views in all directions. The wall divider is made up of four pieces of onyx designed to resemble a kind of Rorschach ink-blob.
The Manhattan Suite
Opulent, sophisticated and very beautiful, the Manhattan Suite dining room is for the city dweller who likes to let the world know he (or she) has made it big, or simply likes to entertain in style. If dining is an art form, this majestic room is operatic in style, with touches of the Baroque both in the overall muted colour scheme and in the pair of crystal and metal chandeliers hanging low over the solid stone table custom-made by UDesign. Drinks are at hand too – within arm’s reach, to be exact, because the bodega and its serving area is actually part of the wall behind the table (also custom-made by UDesign).
105 Marbella Hills
If the villa itself reminds us of a particularly lively interactive museum of modern art suitable for partying in, then its open-plan dining space could be described as haute-funk. The extraordinary op-art floor pattern on the rug, the huge table made from an oak plank finished in high-gloss white, the three chandeliers overhead and the funky avant-garde purple Ekstrem chairs (designed back in 1972 by Terje Ekström): it all adds up to a dining experience that would be quite difficult to forget.
As serene as the Italian Riviera landscape it is built upon, this villa’s dining area sits in the middle of a large open-plan lounge and dining space, filled with natural light and partly surrounded by water in the pool outside. The space is spectacular in its simplicity. White is the principal colour (not dominant, because white never dominates), even in the dining table and Moroso chairs, while the four high stools in the kitchen area provide the necessary tonal contrast. Everything here seems to float, as if suspended from above, weightless, setting the tone for memorable dinners and agreeable conversation in an ambience designed for just that.
Penthouse Nueva Andalucía
Most of the lower floor of this beautiful, classic Manhattan-style penthouse is a large open-plan area that reaches the full height of its entire space, connected to the bedroom above by a solid wood staircase. The central area is the lounge, while the dining area is positioned at one end, with views looking out over the terrace to the sea beyond. Seating eight people comfortably on white leather chairs designed by Tom Dixon, its low overhead lighting creates an intimate space for dining in style.
La Zagaleta 2
The long dining room table in this magnificent Mediterranean villa with an Asian flavour was custom-made by UDesign in South American timber, with a high-gloss lacquer top and natural edges. The room itself enjoys views over the pool and the sea, and is illuminated at night by multiple irregular shaped globes in silver and gold (Melt Lights by Tom Dixon), all separated from the lounge area by a large central natural stone panel with shared fireplace. A dozen Scoop chairs, also by Tom Dixon, provides seating for even the biggest dinner parties, inviting guests to linger long after the feasting ends.
Part of the desirability of a Vista Lago villa, quite apart from their exceptional design and construction, is that all eighteen of them are different. This means, of course, that no two Vista Lago dining areas are the same, although all have been designed low, mostly minimal in decoration and situated with uninterrupted views of the sea. As one would expect in world-class luxury villas, each dining area had been exquisitely designed in the finest natural materials.
Table, chairs, overhead lighting and an intimate ambience, the four basic elements of any great dining room, have all been chosen, custom made or created by UDesign with the greatest care and attention to detail. And in the unlikely event that none of the existing designs meet your requirements exactly, the award-winning UDesign team will be willing to help design your dream home.
For more information on Vista Lago Residences, visit our information page and gallery, or call our Sales Team for more information: (+34) 682 105 002