A VILLA FIT FOR A KING, A DESTINATION FIT FOR THE GODSHAMPTONS ADDRESS MANHATTAN ATTITUDE
Architect Galal Mahmoud’s Grecian Dream on the Island of Mykonos
Text: Gina Samarotto
The product of a veritable melting pot of culture, architect Galal Mahmoud was born in Lebanon to Egyptian parents; enjoying life on the Asian continent until the family fled the country’s political unrest in 1976 and put down some new, European roots in France. It was in France that Mahmoud began in earnest his love affair with architecture, graduating from the Ecole d’Architecture de Versailles in 1986 before opening his first architects’ practice in Paris the following year. A decade or so later, Mahmoud again relocated, this time to Beirut where he founded GM Architects - a firm specializing in the luxury hotel and upscale seaside resort markets. These dramatic life experiences are at the root of Galal Mahmoud’s philosophy and his signature approach to architecture; one where the very concepts of ‘wellbeing’ and multiculturalism are fundamental.
Despite his family’s new life in Europe, Mahmoud found himself intrigued and inspired by Asia’s design approach – one that pays homage to an outdoor lifestyle as indulgent and comfortable as any traditional, indoor residence. The charm was long-lasting, and throughout his career, Mahmoud has elevated his indoors-meets-nature approach; honing his craft and developing a style that fuses seamless architecture in outdoor spaces designed “for living out the good life.” It’s a talent particularly well suited to the Mediterranean region that is home to one of the master’s most significant, recent creations in Mykonos.
Engaged by the owners of a private villa located in the very heart of the island, Mahmoud and his team first focused on the exteriors of the residence. Mahmoud given the task to preserve the intrinsic character of the location and the building’s traditional Greek architecture - while at the same time infusing it with a more modern feel both classically simple and infinitely elegant. Add to that the need to transform the open-air terraces into places ideally suited to life led to the fullest and without physical boundaries, while still offering protection from nature’s sometimes raw elements. Challenge met, and working closely with the homeowner, Mahmoud and his team created a space that whisks one on a dream-like journey through the imagination – and all set within a dreamlike location that is nothing if not breathtaking.
Showcasing three essential materials the villa is a vision of shimmering white cement tempered by the light-colored stone found throughout the villa’s interiors and exteriors, and the abundant, wooden decking that frames the views while it adorns the terraces. Further reinforcing the contemporary look is a color scheme dominated by white and pale grey touched with beguiling strokes of blue. A sinuously fluid continuity blurs the line between the villa’s interiors and its gracious exteriors, giving the villa a signature aesthetic; that is, a sense that it is held in suspension in a space that exists somewhere between the sea and sky.
For more information on Galal Mahmoud and GM Architects, please visit www.gm-architects.com.