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Villa Bora Bora Designed by Severine Tatangeleo of Studio PCH

Architect Severine Tatangelo Designs Spaces that Inspire Creativity and Embrace Nature

For Whitewall's Summer 2024 Impact issue, we speak with Severine Tatangelo about creating a seamless indoor-outdoor atmosphere with Studio PCH.

For over 20 years, the French architect Severine Tatangelo has been creating spaces that honor nature and the human hand. Her California-based firm, Studio PCH, was named after the Pacific Coast Highway that connects her home in Venice to some of her first projects in Malibu, including Nobu Ryokan Malibu. It’s there that she gains inspiration from the ocean and the region’s relaxed atmosphere, aiming to infuse its beauty into projects across the globe. Since Studio PCH’s founding, other hotels, recording studios, restaurants, and residences have followed, fostering a connection for its visitors to both nature and self. From hand-sketching plans to making eco-conscious considerations, Tatangelo’s projects focus on quality materials, local artisanal labor, and a heightened attention to detail for spaces that merge inside with the great outdoors. Whitewall spoke with Tatangelo about creating seamless spaces that inspire its guests to create, relax, and embrace our relationship with nature, and what Studio PCH is working on next.

From Nobu to Interscope, Severine Tatangelo Designs with Studio PCH

Severine Tatangelo Azzura Penthouse, image by Daniel Izquierdo Severine Tatangelo Azzura Penthouse, image by Daniel Izquierdo

WHITEWALL: Studio PCH designs warm projects that blur the indoors and outdoors with natural materials and sophisticated spaces. How important are the materials to making this happen?

SEVERINE TATANGELO: Using the same materials indoors and outdoors creates a seamless continuity. For most of our projects, we emphasize flush thresholds and consistent materials to achieve this integration. We carefully select materials for each project as no matter the similarities, every space is unique.  

WW: What other decisions are important to consider when creating something new that you’d like to feel familiar?

ST: Selecting innovative materials is crucial, and so we spend a lot of time with vendors. We have a dedicated team member managing our material library who is always on the lookout for new materials and interior finishes to explore in our projects. In design, you have to draw on inspiration from everywhere, not just finished spaces out of a magazine, so I encourage my staff to have cultural explorations on Fridays and soak up as much culture as I can as well. Recently, I saw different types of stones arranged on a walking path, and it had just a natural beauty that didn’t seem designed. 

Interscope Records Designed by Severine Tatangeleo of Studio PCH image by Jenna Peffley Interscope Records Designed by Severine Tatangeleo of Studio PCH image by Jenna Peffley

“Craftsmanship is essential to our practice,”

— Severine Tatangelo

WW: How does your relationship with nature impact your decisions when starting a project? 

ST: My relationship with nature is central to my work. We are building in nature, thus a structure should complement the surroundings and be as minimally invasive as possible. It always feels best to be inside of a building that feels as if it is working with nature, not against. 

WW: How do you prioritize craft in your architectural practice? How do you work with local craftspeople to execute a project?

ST: Craftsmanship is essential to our practice. We collaborate closely with local artisans to ensure the highest quality and attention to detail in every project. Craftsmanship is always front and center, from the beginning until the end, to achieve the highest quality. 

“The human hand is vital,”

— Severine Tatangelo

WW: How important is the human hand in your work?

ST: The human hand is vital. I learned to draw plans by hand and continue to sketch and redline drawings manually. This practice connects the heart and mind, and I encourage younger designers to embrace hand-drawing for a deeper connection to their work.

Severine Tatangelo Courtesy of Severine Tatangelo.

WW: You’ve been working in architecture for over 20 years. What change in lifestyle have you seen impact what people want out of architecture?

ST: Over 20 years in hospitality architecture, I’ve seen a significant lifestyle shift. The term “boutique hotel” has evolved, and people now seek more personalized and unique experiences. Aside from technological innovations of a building, however, attention to detail never goes out of style!

WW: What do you hope the impact of your projects is on those who get to experience its spaces?

ST: We aim to evoke emotions and create humanly scaled spaces. For instance, lower ceilings in entry halls can make larger rooms feel even more expansive. We design with transitions that enhance the overall experience. Every project has a unique narrative, and the hope is that those experiencing the space feel comfortable. Spaces are the places for creation, and so the spaces we design should inspire visitors to create.

Severine Tatangelo’s Thoughts on the Future of Architecture

WW: You create spaces that celebrate the world’s architectural heritage and its future. Where is that now? Where do you hope it is in the future?

ST: Right now, there’s a real appreciation for mixing traditional architecture with modern innovations. We’re seeing sustainable practices, local craftsmanship, and advanced technology all coming together to shape the way we build. I hope this continues, with even more focus on eco-friendly designs, preserving cultural heritage, and using smart technology to make spaces both functional and beautiful. I envision architecture that truly connects people to their surroundings, creating places that are not only stunning but also meaningful and sustainable. The dream is always that people feel inspired to create—or just be one with nature—when they walk into your space. 

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