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Inside This Artist’s Sprawling Family Escape on the Cycladic Island of Folegandros

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The Mexican artist Bosco Sodi and his wife, Lucia Corredor, first stepped foot on Folegandros, a quiet Cycladic island known for its windy climate and mountainous terrain, during a family sailing trip in 2017. Taken with the tough beauty of the isle (some believe its name is derived from a Phoenician word mean-ing “rock-strewn land”), they decided to dock the boat for an extra night. In the port the next morning, Sodi skimmed the real estate listings. “At the very end of the island there was a small bay with a beautiful church—nothing else,” he says, recalling the parcel of land that caught his eye. After a quick look, he didn’t hesitate. “I said I would buy it.”

Settling into a rugged, untouched place was nothing new for the Brooklyn-based couple, who started building in Puerto Escondido, a surfing hot spot in Oaxaca, a decade ago, when a trip to the closest grocery store required a 15-mile drive down a dirt road. Sodi has since transformed the swath along the Pacific into Casa Wabi, an artist residency, foundation, and architectural wonderland, sprinkled with quietly stunning structures by Tadao Ando, Álvaro Siza, Kengo Kuma, and Alberto Kalach that blend into their surroundings (AD, December 2020). It’s here that Sodi creates his earthen paintings using sawdust, latex, glue, and pigment, as well as the spherical clay sculptures that he leaves to dry and crack in the hot sun. (Later this month Sodi, who is represented by Kasmin Gallery, will fill the 16th-century Palazzo Vendramin Grimani with a range of new works for a solo show during the Venice Biennale.)

The bamboo shade structures were sourced at the local general/hardware store, and the stools and tables are made by Miri Pura, the on-site handyman, using branches from nearby trees and wood scraps from the construction process.

In Folegandros, Sodi and Corredor would, once again, use the environment as their jumping-off point, working with architect Carlos Loperena’s firm, Deca Architecture, on a series of structures that nearly disappear into the rocky landscape. “There are three types of building permits in Greece,” Sodi explains. “You can build a typical white house of 150 square meters. A stone house of 180 square meters. Or you put the house inside the mountain—if you do it this way, you can build 50 percent more.”

They chose that last option—one of Loperena’s specialties. And after several visits to the property to determine where the house should sit (wind is a major consideration on this particularly blustery island), the architect and his team—partnering with local contractor Babis Gartaganis—set to task. Hunks of green limestone were excavated from the site, a onetime quarry, and stacked into walls, which, along with cast slabs of concrete, created a string of dwellings embedded in the mountain. “It looks like a small town from far away,” says Corredor. “You see these little villas and the main plaza with the olive trees.” From the inside looking out, windows frame views of the bay and the open ocean.

Pillows from Zara home are piled on the custom sofa in the TV room. The articulating wall lamp is from Zambelis Lights, and the small paintings are by Sodi.

Cast-concrete slabs and green limestone excavated from the site create a string of dwellings.

“We wanted to make it very simple, using as many natural materials as possible,” explains Sodi.

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