A tour of Giorgio Armani’s home in Antigua

This article originally appeared in the November 2006 issue of Architectural Digest.

Some travelers are simply wandering, but Giorgio Armani is, more precisely, a wanderer of the heliotropic variety: he travels to find places with reliable sun. With sea-view homes on the remote Italian island of Pantelleria and a renovated farmhouse on the Tuscan coast—not to mention a luxury yacht moored in Saint-Tropez—the fashion designer has most of his Mediterranean bases covered. But even in the Mediterranean, the sun is cloudy in the winter, and then Armani makes repairs to a getaway on the Caribbean island of Antigua. He arranged his life so that the sun would never set in his set of retreats.

It might seem easier to follow the seasons of sun in seaside hotels, but Armani prefers to create his own Paradisian worlds, exemplified by the visual calmness and accord of all parts, from architecture to lavish little table lamps and watermelon-red napkins. Famous for his unstructured tailoring, he designs environments that ease formality in favor of elegant, effortless simplicity. As in the body, so at home.

Nature was bragging when she created Galley Bay, on Antigua’s west coast, whose rolling hills and rocky outcrops rise from turquoise waters lined with white beaches. Cloud formations regularly adorn the painting, multiplying in the sky on mysterious copies of the dramatic formations on the ground.

Even Armani, a master of nuances of tones and form, could not improve upon the divine scale of color and form in nature. “Antigua is simply one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, with lush stretches of countryside alongside a selection of beaches,” says the designer. “Antigua are the warmest and most welcoming hosts, who instantly make you feel right at home.”

Armani started with a pair of villas located on a landscaped promontory with a large tropical garden. When he travels, Armani acts as the head of the family, bringing relatives and friends as guests in their homes on long trips. In Antigua, he needed to expand the villas into a complex that would maintain a sense of local familiarity without looking like a boutique hotel.

Armani has expanded the complex with a simple addition and a clever touch of strategic reorganization. Both buildings, Villa Flower and Villa Serena, are designed in the vernacular Antigua style, with zigzag-top roofs that act as awnings left open on the sides. He expanded the villas, each with several bedrooms, by connecting them with satellite suites. The large central living room at the heart distributes guests to their villas and suites like a courtyard inside the house.

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