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Portmerion, the Jewel of Wales.
When the Aber Iâ estate near Penrhyndeudraeth in Wales came up for sale in 1925, the Welsh architect Clough Williams Ellis jumped in feet first and began to create plans to build the world famous Portmeirion village.
His aim as a designer was to show how to develop a place of outstanding natural beauty without spoiling it and how it can be enhanced in a sympathetic way, incorporating man-made forms against such a dramatic natural landscape. The Aber Iâ estate was everything he could hope for, a luscious, sub-tropical area with streams running into a wide estuary, steep cliffs, old buildings and dense woodland.
The area itself has a very long history beginning with the construction in 1188 of Castell Deudreath which was originally made up of two towers one facing the south western point of the peninsula ant the other the eastern point.
In 1861, When Williams- Ellis himself, bought the land in 1925, he wrote, “a neglected wilderness-long abandoned by those romantics who had realised the unique appeal and possibilities of this favored promontory but who had been carried away by their grandiose landscaping…into sorrowful bankruptcy.” Even before development started, he decided to give the place a new name and it was duly changed from Aber Iâ (Glacial Estuary) to Portmerion. Meirion meaning Merioneth, the name of the actual county which it is situated and Port due to being positioned by the coast.
The first task was the renovation of the old house, situated by the sea shore into a grand hotel. Clough’s ideas for a closely grouped village in a coastal retreat was already on the drawing board, so his designs were already well thought out before they were realised.
The initial project that lasted from 1925 t0 1939, was built in two stages. Firstly, with the most prominent structures erected first, the styles were predominantly Arts and Crafts at this stage. Yet it wasn’t until 1954 that the finer details were added and completed in 1976. This second half of the work was in the Palladian style, a European style of architecture inspired and derived from the designs of the Ventian architect Andrea Palladio who was himself inspired by the symmetrical lines of ancient Greek architecture.
Several for the key buildings in the village were made from salvaging old buildings, hence, Clough describing the place as “a home for fallen buildings”.
Portmeirion Village is a wonderful showroom for ideas and inspiration. Many of the buildings are designed in the Tuscan villa style, brightly coloured decorative exterior shutters, lying against contrasting coloured walls give a warm and romantic feel to the buildings. In fact, the whole place has a wonderful holiday feel to it, not only because of its sub-tropical gardens set against a stunning landscape but its stylish hotels and self-catering cottages, cafes, spa and shops. It is truly a beautiful and unique place and well worth a visit. If you are inspired by shutter design and require a consultation then please contact us for a free no obligation quote.