Vista Lago Design: the Big Picture


A Vista Lago villa is a complete design entity, appreciated best if we can not only admire the details but also see the big picture.

Article by Vivion O’Kelly

A Vista Lago villa is a complete design entity

Any great design, such as a paperclip, for example, is great because the simplicity of its form matches perfectly the simplicity of its function. Architectural design, although vastly more complex, is no different in concept. A house is a thing whose form and function must meet in perfect harmony to create a work of great architecture. Details are important, of course, but only insofar as they are subject to the overall look and functioning of the house, and when we look at it, we should see it in its totality.

Location of Marbella

The architects of Vista Lago Residences, a collection of 18 luxury villas in the hills above Marbella, were acutely conscious of this from planning stage. It began with location, choosing a site in the extraordinarily beautiful landscape of Real de La Quinta that conforms with the first requisite of great domestic architecture: that the entire complex be in the right place and look as if it has always been there. That means leaving the landscape as unchanged as possible by designing the development in such a way that it becomes a natural part of the landscape, and designing each villa to form a natural part of each individual plot.

In the case of Vista Lago, there are no clear views from the ground of the entire complex, given that it is neither on a flat surface nor is overlooked. Seen from the air, however, it would certainly not jar by its newness or its impact on the landscape.

The architects then considered each villa plot by plot, as if each were an individual architectural entity independent of all the others. The result is that each one, although conforming to an overall design discipline that is necessary to visually unify the entire development, is unique. Here we can start looking at some of the details that make it so.

Vista Residences Marbella - Site Plan

A brief glance at this site map shows the positioning of all 18 villas, while a closer inspection shows the differences between them, both in orientation and layout. It must be remembered that the ground shown here is sloped and wooded, allowing for complete privacy and uninterrupted views of the coast, the Mediterranean, the Rock of Gibraltar and the continent of Africa beyond, from almost every room in the villas. Clearly, each villa is judged, not only on its own merits, but also on its position within the whole development.

And now for a look at the villas themselves. On the outside, we see what is obviously a house, but what could also be an excellent work of abstract sculpture, perhaps from the early part of the 20th century.

Vista Residences Marbella

Looking at each part separately in this villa, we can see clearly what it represents: the broad horizontal bands are room terraces on top and garden terraces on the bottom. The vertical walls are limited in height, to sit well in the landscape, except for a series of comb-like verticals whose function we cannot see from this perspective, but are essential in breaking up the horizontals to create an overall satisfactory visual tableau. Varying tones are created by a number of architectural devices: alternating stone and glass surfaces, changing textures across the entire villa, placing cypress trees against larger expanses of wall and angling parts of the façade to create a delightful play of light and shadow. If asked to take a selfie in front of the best view of this villa, one would face a difficult choice. Like a well-composed symphony, there is variation and contrast in the details, but never so much that it imposes on the beauty of the work as a whole.

The inside may appear to be a different story because our perspective is closer and there are a lot more details to look at, but it is not. Good design is essentially abstract, meaning that a good architect will always ensure that it will not obscure the pig picture, regardless of how much detail is necessitated by fittings and fixtures, and by the essential practicalities of creating different spaces for different functions within the outer walls. Below we see various interior Vista Lago images.

Dining Room

Dining Room at Vista Residences Marbella

A classic example of a Vista Lago interior, which we know instinctively has been designed to an exceptional level, even if we don’t quite know why we know. A large part of the reason could be that no detail within the whole has been over-designed; that is to say, no single detail sticks out from the whole, but forms part of it. The ceiling lights reflect the tones around them, while contrasting colours are used in the seating to make perfect sense of the otherwise muted colour scheme.

Master Bedroom Seating Area

Master Bedroom Seating Area

The wall behind is textured in light browns and ochres which, if not for minimal colouring in the sofa, armchair, coffee table-top and floor, would be too subtle to be noticed. The coffee table base echoes the wall colouring, and the master designer’s touch is the super-thin, curved lampstand with its simple shade. Not much there, but more would be too much.



No wall decorations needed here, other than a series of lightly toned symmetrical lines adding visual interest to the large panel behind the bed. Contrast is provided by the thicker dark lines of the hanging lamps on each side of the bed, which also reflect the thin lines of the recessed ceiling lights above. Sufficient colour is provided by the bed itself and its pillows and throw-over. 

Kitchen Area

Kitchen area at Vista Lago Residences

One has to look closely to see this as a kitchen, but a kitchen it definitely is. The details are small enough not to upset the initial visual impact of the whole, which transmits warm serenity in a minimalist setting. Pure colour is mostly absent, with a lightly textured stone effect in the island and working area just enough to sustain visual interest. The darker tone of the raised table prevents monotony of tone, and the four hanging lamps contribute to the perfect symmetry of the overall design without overwhelming it.

As we can see, every space is designed as a whole entity, while detail has been added as a top chef might add flavouring to a great meal: a lot may be too much and a little may be not enough. Getting it right takes knowledge, experience and creativity, and that means designing each part, not only because it looks right where positioned, but in the context of the whole room, the whole house and its entire surroundings.

View from Vista Lago Residences
The view from your sofa at Vista Lago Residences

The above is just a small example of the styles at Vista Lago Residences. Take a look at our Vista Lago Image Gallery and you will see how each villa has been designed differently. Some styles are bold and colourful, others more classical. The commonality they share is that all are of the highest standard of construction and design, all display a level of innovation and creativity that helps turn a development of luxury villas into a world class work of architectural and interior design.

Contact the BRIGHT Sales Team if you are interested in visiting the Vista Lago plot or reserving your villa: Tel: (+34) 682 105 002 Email: