Mexican artist Bosco Sodi and his wife Lucia Corredor set foot for the first time in Folegandros, in the Cyclades, famous for its windy climate and mountainous territory, during a boat trip with the family in 2017. Fascinated by the rugged beauty of the island (for some, its name comes from a Phoenician word meaning “land strewn with stones”), they had decided to lay there to stay one more night. At the port, Sodi had flipped through the property ads the next morning. “At the end of the island there was a small bay with a beautiful church, nothing else,” he says, referring to the piece of land that had caught his attention. After a quick inspection, he was in no doubt. “I decided I wanted to buy it.”
Settling in a harsh and unspoiled place like the Cyclades is nothing new to the couple, who are usually based in Brooklyn. The two began building a house in Puerto Escondido, a popular surf spot in the state of Oaxaca, ten years ago when they had to drive nearly 25 miles on a dirt road to walk to the nearest grocery store. Sodi transformed this land along the Pacific Ocean into Casa Wabi, artist residence, foundation and architectural wonderland, discreetly characterized by the extraordinary works of Tadao Ando, Álvaro Siza, Kengo Kuma and Alberto Kalach, perfectly suited to the surrounding environment. This is where Sodi creates his terracotta paintings using sawdust, latex, glue and pigments and his spherical clay sculptures, which he then pretends to dry and crack in the scorching sun. (Sodi, represented by Kasmin Gallery, created new works in the Palazzo Vendramin Grimani from the sixteenth century in Venice for a solo exhibition in connection with the Biennial Arte 2022, ed).
In Folegandros, Sodi and Corredor again used the environment as a starting point and worked with the architect Carlos Loperena’s firm, Deca Architecture, on a number of structures that they almost seem disappear into the landscape rocky. “There are three types of building permits in Greece,” explains Sodi. “You can build a typical white house of 150 square meters, a stone house of 180 or put the house inside the mountain: if you do, it can get 50 percent bigger.” And they chose the third option, including one of Loperena’s specialties. And after several inspections to understand which place was the most suitable place to build the house (the wind is one of the factors that can not be ignored on the island), the architect and his team – in collaboration with the local builder Babis Gartaganis – those to work. From the site, which was once a quarry, large pieces of green limestone were extracted, which were then used to build the walls, which, together with concrete slabs thrown at the site, gave birth to a series of houses set into the mountain. “From a distance, it looks like a small townSays Corredor. “You can see the houses and the main square with the olive trees.” If you look from the inside, the windows frame the view of the bay and the sea. “We wanted to do something very simple by using natural materials as much as possible,” Sodi explains.
Corredor, co-founder of Decada, the interior design studio and store in Mexico City that took care of the interior, also chose the same approach to decor and finish. Most of the things are bought in the area. “These are from the gas station,” he laughs at the chair cushions on the outdoor barbecue area. He refers to Stelios Skylakis, a small shop on the island that sells everything (even petrol), where he found everything from baskets to chickens to bamboo poles to canopies. However, a large amount of materials was found directly on the property. With the help of Miri Pura, their local handyman, the pine boards used to cast the concrete for the walls, became tables and benches; the olive branches and stems picked from the ground have been polished and turned into feces. Raw, hand-carved furniture is mixed with Decada’s fantastic Danish modernist works: a desk chair by Kai Kristiansen, dining chairs and other seating by Hans Wegner.
In the entire house the decor is simple and discreet. Eduardo Sarabia’s boldly designed blue and white ceramic plates catch the eye. “They can work Greek or Mexican dishes, but in reality they are dealing with drug trafficking, ”Corredor explains of the somewhat risky drawings. Beautiful minerals called “learned stones” and elegantly twisted branches are present in many rooms, collected during excursions around the island and then taken home, like a piece of marble that, explains Sodi, “looks like a bust of ancient Greece”. The house and its contents inspire a sense of calm. “We wanted to design a place where we could really rest. Where we can relax,” Sodi says of the complex, designed for cooking, reading and relaxing, with plenty of space to accommodate. perfect place to recharge your energy, with family and friends ». And by living here, the new inhabitants also make their mark on the territory, growing olive trees, a new vineyard and a number of native plants: “We have just bought 90 kilos of various seeds and hired a botanical expert,” says Sodi.
If you go down to the sea you come to one old fisherman’s house, a relic of the past that the family today uses as a gathering point at sea. The walls, finished with paint and plaster, appear to have never been touched, worn by time like the paintings of Sodi, which here intend to begin work soon. “The sawdust here is different,” he explains, “and it changes the reaction with the pigments and the way it will dry and crack.” His art practice and the way he builds houses are, after all, not that different. “It’s a relaxed approach,” he says. “We take advantage of what happens naturally. We let ourselves be led by instinct, and by the gods“