Life imitating Art – Villa Asmée



When Ariadne and Jean-Paul Briseul decided upon Vanuatu for their retirement plans, they were looking to build not just a home, but ‘the perfect house’. A dream, a home, a work of art, a house that would be an external reflection of their inner world. They entrusted their dream to David Girardeau and he took it, as he takes all of his projects, with passion and unfailing commitment towards excellence.

Having lived in Vanuatu for 23 years, David knows the country well. He originally arrived in the islands back in 1991, to work with the prestigious Jean Lefebvre firm in several projects as well as to teach carpentry and cabinet making at Vanuatu Technical College. In 1998, he started ‘Techno Bois Deco’, his carpentry and cabinet making business. David studied his trade in one of the finest schools in France and of course, this shows in all his work; in David’s work, we find the spirit of true craftsmanship.

Today, his company Techno Bois Deco, employs over 35 people, many of whom have been with him since its inception. “Many of these guys were students of mine during my teaching time,” David explains. “They have great skill and knowledge of their craft.” David is well known in Vanuatu for the artistry of his work. From furniture to kitchens, bathrooms, staircases, windows, doors and flooring, you only need to see his work to know, instantly, it is his. David is in love with wood. He knows wood and loves wood the way only a tradesman as fine as himself can. It was this passion for wood that in 2010, took him to expand his business to the construction of timber houses. “Vanuatu has an abundance of great timbers and this type of houses are perfect for this climate. They are open, blending indoors with outdoors, durable, perfect for island-living and very romantic!’” he explains.


Vila Asmée is a fine example of what David and his team can accomplish on a ‘grand’ scale in every sense of the word. The huge cathedral roofs marked by five timber arches that support the overall structure and offer a vast panoramic view of the ocean are bordering on the ‘divine’. “The conception and construction of this house reflects the high expectations of the ancient builders that lived in France centuries ago,” explains Jean-Paul. “The interior spaces have allowed us to display our art collection so that it benefits from the changing light throughout the day. And the ocean, a source of joy and contentment for us, is always there, part of every living space.”

Skylights have been incorporated to give maximum light and architectural views of the ocean in the distance. The enormous living room is totally open to the outdoor spaces through the use of bi-fold wooden doors, all living spaces making the most of the views by facing the ocean. Floors, doors, windows, decks, kitchen, bathrooms and cabinets in every room have been crafted using the best of Vanuatu hard woods with extensive use of kwila throughout. All fixtures and fittings are top of the range and sourced from France, Germany and Italy to ensure maximum durability. Those often overlooked details, such as how easy is it to open and close a door or window have been looked after, with doors sliding swiftly and windows engineered for every mood, with beautiful crafted French shutters, a glass window, and a third screened window pane that allows for windows to be opened while still feeling secured and protected from mosquitoes. As David shows me around the house, I can’t help but being impressed.

This is also the case for Ariadne and Jean-Paul Briseul, who are more than happy and impressed by their dream home. “Our house has a unique architecture that holds many technical challenges and we gave all our trust to David to find the best materials and to create an engineering masterpiece. This house is to us a sanctuary of beauty, a work of art, and offers us the opportunity to live in a place where the beauty of architecture, art, and nature are married together, in perfect harmony. For this, we give all our gratitude to David and his team,” explains Jean-Paul.

David’s new timber homes are all exquisite but their different sizes and designs cater for all tastes and budgets. From one bedroom cottages, small villas, to homes of every size, his innovative concept in timber houses can be adapted to suit specific individual needs and budgets for as little as 150,000vt per square metre. “It is also very easy for our clients,” explains David. “Our timber homes include everything, from the initial design and plans, to the last fixture and fitting, everything is included in the quote and organised by us. We work with our clients in the design of their home, and after that, all they need to do is collect the keys at the end!” A very attractive proposition, if you ask me.

David Girardeau timber homes are available at an indicative price from 150,000 to 200,000 vatu per sqm. For more information, check Techno Bois Deco website