The making of Papilio

Posted on June 10, 2015

Last month, the installation of furniture and fittings for Vamizi’s eagerly awaited sixth private villa, the magnificent Papilio (meaning “swallow-tailed butterfly”) was completed. This may sound simple enough, however, if you have ever been involved with the design of a six-bedroom luxury villa with two spacious lounge areas, dining room, treehouse, star-gazing deck and swimming pool, you will appreciate the complexity of a process like this. Throw in a tropical island location on a remote part of Mozambique’s coastline and you have a fascinating story to tell.

Papilio’s interior decor was designed and sourced by a team headed up by South African designer, Lucy Eaton Corder. Lucy has been working with beach and safari properties in the region for more than 10 years, and has brought unique inspiration to each of Vamizi’s private villas. Lucy started her career in fashion design but moved into interiors when working for Abercrombie & Kent on their properties in Botswana and East Africa. It was here that her interest in hospitality design for luxury African properties was ignited. In 2004 she started her own business, Lucy Eaton Corder Consulting, and was later joined by her A&K colleague Martell Bergh. Together they execute interior projects in remote destinations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa. The thrill of designing African inspired interiors and the practical challenge of getting them to a far flung site is their passion.


With artwork and unique items of furniture sourced in East and Southern Africa, villa Papilio has a distinctly “African” style. Additional influences come from India and Indonesia with either an organic or tribal origin. Many pieces have been custom made specifically for the villa, such as the “delicious monster” pendant lights in the dining room and artwork commissioned to depict extraordinary scenes from the island such as a stunning painting of the island’s lighthouse. Splashes of turquoise and coral pink echo the natural colours of Vamizi’s surroundings, bringing a definitive coastal twist to the villa. Moorish archways and a traditional Swahili door remind us that we are at the heart of the East African spice route in Northern Mozambique.


In fact, the white-sailed dhows on the horizon are not just an evocative reminder of the past but an essential part of Papilio’s story. A total of six boats carried the carefully packed boxes of furniture, artwork, carvings and fabric; every last piece of glassware, crockery and china sailed the final stretch of the journey to Vamizi from the nearby port of Mocimboa da Praia. Several hundred boxes - the contents of four shipping containers - were painstakingly removed and carried one at a time to the villa awaiting installation.

Now safely established in its new home, the elegant Papilio has emerged from its cocoon, bold and beautiful. Full details and photographs coming to our website very soon!