CULTURE

Reflective Encounters of Sustainable Design

Artist Moral Turgeman in a tale of two mirrored houses.

Moral Turgeman at Casa Etérea
Moral Turgeman at Casa Etérea

Words by Moral Turgeman

When telling the story of an idea, it’s almost impossible to pin down the beginning, the middle, the end, or the in-betweens.

This story began with a Facebook message one day four years ago, a friend of a friend reaching out to seek guidance on the construction of a tiny mirrored house, a venture that at the time had very few references.

The Little House Project, by Moral Turgeman
The Little House Project, by Moral Turgeman

The Little House Project, a reflective dwelling I envisioned and built in 2015, was one of these references for Prashant Ashoka, writer turned architect who reached out to the fabled ‘mirrored house girl.’ We began correspondence on what would materialize as Casa Etérea, a 75 square meter sustainable refuge above the San Miguel de Allende valley in Mexico.

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The result is not only striking but also a model for what off-the-grid architecture can be. It was an incredibly proud moment walking through the door, knowing the challenges Prashant faced building his ‘theatre to nature.’ As I approached the surreal site of Casa Etérea, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own experience all those years ago, seemingly a lifetime away. 

Back when I dreamt up The Little House, the traveling mirrored installation came to life with the help of eighty investors and contributors. It took one year to raise the capital, fabricate, and hit the road. By spring the following year, I was inseparable from the ways in which it was received in the world. 

CasaEterea15 (1)
CasaEterea16 (1)

The trend was not of my own making but undoubtedly one that captured the minds of creators around the world at the time. Building and breaking down a 30 square meter art piece is a feat in and of itself. Add mirrors to the equation, and you have quite a task on your hands. The reward was in its reception, with every new viewer awe-struck by its scale and the uncertainty of the conceptual entrance: a crawl-space that revealed a spinning binaural temple inside. The architecture led your instinct to discover the infinite.

Casa Etérea
Casa Etérea

Prashant and I share a story of self-discovery in places far from home and the love for a good challenge. Despite the numerous technical, financial, logistical, and cultural hindrances, he chipped away without compromising what he set out to create: a non-conventional, sustainable building informed by its surroundings.

Casa Etérea
Casa Etérea
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Casa Etérea takes all preconceived notions of sustainable design and showcases a thought-provoking refuge. Resting quietly at the foot of an extinct volcano, the residence inspires the inhabitant to reflect on their relationship to the land. Powered by solar and collected rainwater, its environmental footprint is the only thing tiny about this place.

CasaEterea21

Casa Etérea embodies the ethereal for us to bear witness to our responsibility. In that solidarity, you begin to discover the hidden choreography of the mountain: the luminous night sky reflected onto its facade, bouncing off your face through the mirror. 

Where home begins and ends is for you to decide.

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