Travel Notes blog
Meet the Owner: Alain at Casa di Macine
by Charlotte Smith
7 min read

Meet the Owner: Alain at Casa di Macine

Meet the Owner: Alain at Casa di Macine
Discover Casa di Macine, a luxurious Corsican villa blending tradition and modernity. Owner Alain, a Corsican native and Miami-based music producer, shares his journey of creating this serene retreat nestled in the mountains.

1. What’s the story behind your choice of the location where you built your villa? Is there any personal connection?

Corsica is my homeland, the place where I feel most at home and understood, for it is where I was born and raised. When the opportunity arose to create a space in this magical location, nestled between the Bavella mountains and the turquoise sea, which embodies both tranquillity and a sense of pure living, I couldn't resist embarking on the project: Domaine de Macine. Macine, which translates as 'millstone', seemed the perfect name, as there was once a wind-powered flour mill on the property. Domaine de Macine is a place of tradition and progressive advancement, where the past meets the future in harmony.

2. What do you love most about the location of Casa di Macine?

What captivates me most about the location of our villa is its seamless blend of tradition and modernity, nestled amidst the breathtaking landscape of Corsica. Facing the majestic Aiguilles de Bavella, Casa di Macine is a testament to the island's rugged beauty and timeless allure. Surrounded by nature yet within easy reach of Solenzara's vibrant marina and the azure waters of the Mediterranean, it offers the perfect balance of tranquillity and accessibility.


3. Who designed the house, and what were your specifications? What’s the philosophy behind the choice of materials, style, and interior design?

The most important thing for me was to create a place worthy of the overwhelming, stunning nature that surrounds Casa di Macine. The architecture was designed by the renowned architect Isabelle Berthet-Bondet, who balances her teaching activities in Paris for first-year students of the Ecole Supérieure d’Architecture with her work in Corsica. Her experience in Japan taught her a sensitive approach to space and an architecture that expresses a certain relationship with the world, bridging the gap between indoors and outdoors. Her agency creates projects made of stone, wood, and concrete, which open the eyes to the transient beauty of nature. The numerous projects carried out by them blend discreetly into the landscape, merging with nature to form a harmonious unity. Their motto - "learning from nature while preserving it" - focuses their attention on developing timeless, sustainable architecture. The story of how I encountered the interior designer is almost unbelievable: I stumbled upon a 7-second viral video with 108 million views on the Instagram account Atelier.Artan. It showcased the interior work of Anna Kilgenstein in a barn that was designed by her and renovated together with her family. The design and the finesse of timeless taste instantly captivated me. She never really studied design at university, but working as a flight attendant she got inspired by staying in luxury hotels in more than 50 countries. Renovating her own space she gained all the experience and expertise she needed to create stunning spaces. Thus, I gave Anna the opportunity to breathe life into the more than 700 square meters of inside-outside living space of our villa.

The design of Casa di Macine was a collaborative endeavour involving our architect, Isabelle, our interior designer, Anna, my life partner, Melissa, my family, and me, all guided by reverence for Corsican heritage and a commitment to sustainability. Inspired by the island's natural beauty and architectural traditions, we sought a space that seamlessly blends with the environment while offering modern comforts and amenities. From the use of local materials like chestnut wood and Bavella stone to the seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living areas, every aspect of the villa reflects our philosophy of thoughtful and timeless design.


4. How did you got about choosing furniture, palettes, and other finishing touches for Casa di Macine?

In selecting the furniture and the palette for the villa, we drew inspiration from the rugged beauty of Corsica's landscape and the laid-back elegance of Mediterranean living. Natural tones and textures dominate, complemented by pops of colour inspired by the island's flora and fauna. Each piece was carefully chosen to balance comfort, functionality, and aesthetic appeal, creating a space that feels inviting and refined. The colours were chosen based on the cardinal directions, inspired by a Feng Shui concept. Every nuance was carefully selected by our designer, Anna, to support balance and harmony in the space, and to foster an inviting and calming environment. Those who inhabit the house should arrive and simply feel at ease.


5. Is there any item of furniture, artwork or design detail that you particularly love?

I think this is the most challenging question because I love every detail of this house. We made sure that every individual element is perfectly coordinated with all the others, as well as with the surrounding nature. One thing I particularly love, for example, is when the windows are open and the sea breeze makes the handwoven lampshades above the 4-meter-long dining table dance, or when the interplay of light and shadow brings the open living area to life.

6. How do you “live” the villa? What do you do when you’re there?

When I arrive at the villa, the first thing I do is pause to take in the beauty that surrounds me. Whether it's the scent of wildflowers in the air or the sound of birdsong in the distance, there's an undeniable atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that envelops me. From there, I typically settle in and take some time to reconnect with nature, whether it's going for a hike in the nearby mountains, taking a bath in the huge free standing bathtub, a soak in the Jacuzzi or a swim in the infinity pool. I'll work out in the private fitness room, have a sauna or simply lounging in the sunken living room overlooking the mountains with a good book. Casa di Macine is also a place of gathering and community. The large dining table accommodates 14 people, and the open kitchen invites shared cooking and lingering. It is designed to enjoy quality time with loved ones.


7. What’s your favourite place to be in the villa?

Although every corner of the villa has its own charm, my favourite spot is undoubtedly the rooftop terrace. With its panoramic views of both the mountains and sea, it's the perfect place to unwind with a glass of wine. Whether relaxing in the hot tub or cosying up by the fire pit, there's something magical about watching the sunset over the Corsican landscape from this vantage point.

8. When you go to stay at your villa, what are the first dishes you cook?

I'm partial to simple, rustic fare that celebrates the flavours of Corsica. Whether it's a hearty barbecue made with locally sourced ingredients or a fresh seafood pasta infused with herbs from the garden, I find joy in preparing meals that reflect the bounty of the land and sea. But honestly: Casa di Macine makes you realize that its the small things that make life worth living, like a good coffee in the morning, a pain au chocolate, and a view on the sun rising from the sea.


9. What’s your favourite day out from the villa?

When it comes to venturing out from the villa, I'm spoiled for choice. Whether it's spending a lazy day at one of the nearby beaches, such as Palauma, exploring the charming villages that dot the countryside, canyoning in Vallée de la Solenzara, or hiking through the rugged beauty of the Bavella Massif, there's always something new to discover on this enchanting island. But if I had to choose just one favourite, it would have to be a leisurely boat trip along the coast, where the turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs never fail to take my breath away.