Mirror, mirror, on all the walls? It is certainly not true, but Casa EtÃ©rea is kind of a fairy tale. Just outside San Miguel de Allende, the sustainably constructed Casa EtÃ©rea (meaning Ethereal House) is a Modernist hideaway encased in mirrored panels. Like a mirage, the structure changes from celestial to terrestrial between dusk and dawn, echoing the surrounding skies and landscapes.
For Singaporean owner and designer Prashant Ashoka, the property (which was his first foray into architecture and design) is more than a photo opportunity; it’s an experience. âBeing immersed in raw nature is a very spiritual experience and I wanted to create an abstract house that was inspired by nature and that also changed with the seasons,â says Ashoka. “My goal was to create an experience that evokes a sense of admiration for nature, so that people can hopefully contemplate their relationship with the natural world.”
He also wanted to honor the history of San Miguel de Allende as a haven for creatives, such as Beat Generation writers Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac, and attract tourist flows to other areas of the World Heritage city of UNESCO. âI wanted people to discover another side of San Miguel de Allende,â he says, âwhere they could immerse themselves in the magnificent Bajio mountains that border the cityâ.
Perhaps most importantly, Ashoka built Casa EtÃ©rea in a completely sustainable manner, with her neighbors in mind. The house’s exterior mirror incorporates a patterned UV coating that is visible to birds, and Casa EtÃ©rea is the only mirrored house in the world with this feature. Also using the landscape to its advantage (the slopes of the extinct volcano Palo HuÃ©rfano), the house derives all of its energy from solar energy and the water supply from collected rainwater.
Designed for two, the refuge is available to book directly through Instagram. âI see it more as an immersive art experience than a vacation rental,â says Ashoka. âEverything has been designed to celebrate the natural environment and to be a place of comfort and reflection for those who come to experience it. Â»A place of reflection, in more than one way.