Otiima House is perched on a hill in the wild forest of a national park located at Caniçada, Geres in Portugal.
We traverse a narrow and winding asphalt road through a lush forest to re ach this concrete creation by Carvalho Araujo, erected in 2014. This former family house has been transformed into a weekend retreat, suited to hosting social gatherings and exhibitions.
The building comprises two volumes - a substantial timber part resting on a concrete base, elevated by elongated ribbon windows running horizontally across the facades, which give the interior equal light levels. Once you enter the house, you find yourself in an open space that accommodates the communal areas as well as the communication functions. The master bedroom in the west wing, with a height of 5 meters, can be entered through a spectacular sliding window. It has access to a private concrete patio with a jacuzzi. There is a similar window feature in the east wing, where a concrete terrace is nestled in a soft rustle of spring water (accompanied by a sauna).
Inside, the timber volume continues as the mezzanine - floating above the open space on solid steel construction - connects the two opposite private bedrooms. The construction is supported by the ‘ribbon windows’ that flood the space with natural light while providing unobstructed views of the surrounding environment.
Throughout the interior, austerity dominates. There are no additional finishing materials apart from the structural ones: raw timber, concrete, and the steel construction of windows and mezzanine. These elements create an ethereal atmosphere where art and everyday life can coexist.
An observant visitor will not miss some carefully selected artifacts, one of them a sizable unframed canvas hanging on a massive concrete wall. Its author is Dario Alvarez Basso, a Spanish artist born in Venezuela in 1966. The collection of art at the property has been acquired over the years, and it is part of the personal estate of José Maria Ferreira - the entrepreneur and owner of OTIIMA house, well-known for his boldness and visionary approach.
José Maria Ferreira is also the founder of ArtWorks, an organization that produces, develops, and manufactures works of art, projects, and exhibitions, proposing to create a collaborative and experimental attitude with creators from several artistic areas. This connection to the art world also takes the form of support and sponsorship to various artists and cultural institutions. Rather than being a collection, the artworks present in Gerês’ house are the reflection of the cultural connection of the owners to the international artistic panorama.
The final touch in the living space is the vintage furniture. A particularly noteworthy piece is the eye-catching transparent chair accompanied by an extensive side table whose countertop was covered with durable resin, subtly reflecting the rays of sunlight in the open space near the entrance door.
The Otiima house lies in the heart of a well-tended garden. A path along the free-flowing spring leads to the pool, where you can easily hide from the scorching Portuguese sun beneath the nearby weeping willows, close to the swimming pool. At the edge of the plot, one may also find a vegetable garden, some fruit trees, blueberry and currant bushes, as well as, quite surprisingly, a chicken coop, which allows the visitors to have a taste of local organic food.
Otiima house is available for rent via nice2stay, an agency with the finest selection of contemporary holiday homes.