Located across from the Joshua Tree National Park in California, USA, the Black Desert House was a joint project between creative director Marc Atlan as the designer and Oller and Pejic as the architects. The home wraps itself around an inner courtyard with the entry on one side, the social zone next to it, the dining and kitchen on the third side and the private zones, buffered by a hallway accessed along the fourth and final side. Although the privates zones do not have glazings looking into the courtyard, the social zones do and with large glazings flanking the zones, the courtyard – although centralized – enjoys the same expansive views as the rest of the home.
The Black Desert House presents a closed facade and with boulders piled high along both sides of the driveway, the views are saved for only those that enter the home – or those that climb the rocks.
While the facade of the home is completely black, it appears grey next to the dark void created by the garage. The choice of black for the home allows the surrounding desert to come to life as the shadows amongst the boulders “pop” in harmony with the facade.
The entry stairs combine both the black of the home along its risers and the colour of the boulders on the concrete treads. While the landscape is rocky and dry, the poignant planting of a Palm Tree adds a welcoming touch.
The stairs lead up to the inner courtyard which is kept contained on the entry side by a privacy wall. With the concrete landing deck continuing the colours of the landscape and a large boulder marking the top of the stairs, it is as though this level of the home is ground level.
The courtyard has a base of grey concrete with an island of desert sand in the shape of a ring gemstone. In the centre of the island a tree is featured for a touch of vertical greenery. Both the tree and the island of sand tie the courtyard to the landscape beyond while the grey concrete decking blends seamlessly with the interior flooring of the residence.
The glazings in the courtyard offer access to the various social zones via large sliding panels with a framework of black powder coated steel for a continuum to the black facade.
The dining area continues the theme of black within the fireplace, ceilings, quartz countertops in the kitchen and even in the Platner Dining Table and the Kartell Masters Chairs. The only divergence from the midnight hue is the bold red Magis Bar Stools and the bright white Zettel’z 5 light fixture.
The use of small pops of colour bring a fluidity to the residence, causing the viewer’s eye to travel down and through the home rather then just outwards.
The same holds true from the vantage point of the kitchen where the white of the chandelier creates a flow to the yellows and reds of the living room beyond and the monochromatic shades of the rest of the home cause it to blend out far more then the standard all white schemes usually used to enhance panoramic vistas.
The living zone is more colourful then the kitchen and dining areas, but the window glazings are also much bigger. The choice of a black sofa and coffee table keeps the eye looking through the residence or out to the views. The reds, oranges and fuchsias of the pillows create a connection to the kitchen bar stools while the bright yellow upholstery on the two chairs – although vibrant – plays off of the desert shades beyond.
The seamless corner to the window glazings makes the living room appear open to the elements. The room is stunning in its simplicity.
While the commanding views are, on their own a magical vista, there is so much more to the exterior lifestyle the Black House residence. A large deck projects outwards from the dining and kitchen zones offering an outdoor dining experience and around the corner, off of the private zones is a black tiled pool.
The Black Desert House presents a roof overhang just outside the kitchen for a cooler, shadier outdoor dining experience.
Just around the corner from the outdoor dining is the pool deck. Two tiered with its own roof overhang, the pool zone offers both sun and shade.
The reflections of the pool and landscape within the window glazings create an interesting mirror effect that minimizes the volume of the residence.
The lounge chairs located at the far side of the pool are just outside the Guest Bedroom and both zones are presented a private setting via the carefully places boulders that mimic the effect of a privacy wall. These prehistoric rocks can be softly illuminated at night via carefully placed landscape lighting.
The Guest Bedroom continues the theme of black with a punch of colour, only in this case the colour is introduced through a modernist dresser.
Three bedrooms line the wall overlooking the pool and each of these rooms also has a nightly display of the setting sun – who wouldn’t want to wake up to this panorama?
Once awake, what better way to start the day then with a refreshing dip in the pool while you enjoy the magnificent views.
The Black Desert House is centred around a courtyard with the kitchen and dining areas creating the transition from social to private zones. With black being the feature element it is presented in midnight quartz, high gloss anthracite and darkened steel with carefully chosen moments of colour pops to create flow and direction. While the home is secluded from the hustle and bustle of city life, it is only 30 minutes outside of Palm Springs, California, USA.
The serene and mystical setting allows occupants and guest to decompress from the rigors of modern day life. The Black Desert House is currently available for professional location rentals such as fashion and editorial shoots, advertising campaigns and TV and film production.
The Black Desert House by Marc Atlan and Oller & Pejic
Photography by Marc Angeles