its history
In the winter of 2003, I talked my daughter into following me on a discovery journey of the Sian Ka'an Reserve. At that time I didn't know that Sian Kaan means "The Gate of Paradise". As we drove on into the reserve, I saw, for the first time, a flight of emerald parrots cross over us.
The desert coral white sanded seashore, appeared and disappears behind a jungle of palms, a turquoise lagoon on the right hand side of the road looked stunning. Herons were fishing undisturbed on the beach, while huge and smaller iguanas warmed themselves in the sun, barely moving as cars are pass by. I had never seen such a beautiful and pure place before. When we returned, late that night, as if by magic, somebody told me of a plot for sale inside the Reserve! So, the building of my house on the lot with palm trees facing the blue water began on Christmas 2006. I watched the house being built from the ground up.
There are no door hnadles as it seems there is no need for them. Every object in the house has its own story and soul; it was found and brought there. The house has its own personality that you can feel as soon as you step inside. Everybody falls in love with it: once there, they never want to leave! During my first Christmas there, I fell asleep listening to the soothing ocean sounds and the smelling the wind; these memories stayed with me for weeks after I returned home.

the layout Italian architect Ombra Bruno has been working with me since she graduated from college in Italy. Together, we designed and assembled the interiors of Gregory Colbert¹s Nomadic Museum in Venice and in NY.
Italian architect Ombra Bruno
Her unique modern, yet classical style is a great asset to any architectural endeavour. Her sensibility for integrating natural and practical features is perfect for the vision of a house surrounded by nature. There could have been no better choice for the design of this house than Ombra Bruno.
She together with her partners, Christiane Egger, Alberto Mazza, and Paolo Mazzoleni developed a very simple concept that determined the layout of the house. The principles of the project where guidelines taken from the ancient Mayan culture, such as geographic and cosmic orientation, access and geometry. The material used are too, locally found : cement and zapote (very strong and waterproof wood).
01 The colors define spaces and volumes. Skilights and windows at each side, give a 360 view of the entire Sian Kaan reserve, and a small pool on the top terrace gives a breathtaking view of the nearby lagoon and towards the unforgettable sunsets.
A very big round "palapa" is the natural continuation of the inside towards the outside, with its spacious sofas, chill out areas and open kitchen.
All these elements contribute defining the Elefante Volador concept, then developed and built by the local architect Agustin Berenguer.