Span­ish In­flu­ence


Singapore Tatler Homes - - AUG/SEP 2018 -

Filled with light and colour, this apart­ment in Barcelona cel­e­brates its Mediter­ranean tem­per­a­ment

When the own­ers of this Barcelona apart­ment first saw it, they were im­me­di­ately drawn to its orig­i­nal fea­tures. The mould­ings on the din­ing room ceil­ing and the arched win­dows and door­ways in par­tic­u­lar lent the house a distinc­tive charm. But they were also keenly aware that it was badly in need of an in­te­rior over­haul to suit their per­sonal needs and tastes. Hav­ing even­tu­ally bought the prop­erty, they tasked Barcelona-based de­sign firm Mer­itx­ell Ribé – The Room Stu­dio with up­dat­ing it.


One of the most ob­vi­ous ben­e­fits of work­ing with a lo­cal firm is that they are al­ready sen­si­tive to some of the more prac­ti­cal el­e­ments in­volved in a home’s re­design. The cli­mate and the nat­u­ral light that are distinc­tive to the area are el­e­ments with which they are al­ready fa­mil­iar.

With light­ing as a spe­cial­ity of the de­sign firm, co-founders Mer­itx­ell Ribé and Josep Puig­domenech were in­stantly able to iden­tify which colour scheme would be most flat­ter­ing to the apart­ment and its quirks, and bring out the best in each room. They opted for a soft pal­ette in grey, olive green and blush, which is con­tem­po­rary and time­less yet al­lows for bolder el­e­ments to be in­tro­duced into each area. Th­ese are also colours that work beau­ti­fully with Barcelona’s Mediter­ranean tem­per­a­ment—shades with a cool­ing ef­fect in the hot sum­mer months, and also light enough to make the most of its year-round sun­shine.


Be­fore start­ing on the paint job how­ever, Ribé and Puig­domenech had to ad­dress the flow of the flat. As with many older prop­er­ties, this one was made up of a se­ries of rooms that were all cut off from one an­other, which didn’t make for prac­ti­cal liv­ing. The de­sign­ers set about knock­ing through walls and open­ing up door­ways so that one room segues ef­fort­lessly into an­other, cre­at­ing a greater sense of har­mony and mak­ing the most of the space. The kitchen and din­ing ar­eas, in par­tic­u­lar, have been trans­formed, go­ing from two sep­a­rate, dark rooms to one big space that is flooded with nat­u­ral light; the kitchen has also been re­vived with the in­stal­la­tion of a large cen­tral is­land, which makes for a ca­sual eat­ing spot.


The re­con­fig­u­ra­tion also pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for the de­sign firm to work on the own­ers’ wish­list, which in­cluded a movie room and a study where they could stash their mu­sic col­lec­tion. For th­ese two rooms, the de­sign­ers in­stalled state-of-the-art sound and pro­jec­tion sys­tems, which again added to the sense of mod­erni­sa­tion. The de­sign firm is a keen ad­vo­cate of us­ing tech­nol­ogy at home, be­liev­ing that it is es­sen­tial to cre­at­ing a com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment—in their own words, “it makes for spa­ces which can be en­joyed by all five senses”. The rest of the house there­fore is fit­ted with the lat­est in home au­toma­tion, al­low­ing its users to con­trol the am­bi­ence, from light­ing to tem­per­a­ture, of each room in­di­vid­u­ally.


With the ma­jor re­struc­tur­ing work com­pleted and a fresh new at­mos­phere achieved, all that was left for the de­sign stu­dio to do was to fur­nish the home. Sk­il­fully nav­i­gat­ing the tightrope be­tween the clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary, they se­lected pieces from brands such as B&B Italia, Gubi, Roche Bobois, Stel­lar Works, and Santa & Cole, of which the Cesta and Cestita lamps can be found both indoors and out on the ter­race. Hy­draulic tiles in a bold geo­met­ric print were laid down in the kitchen, im­me­di­ately bring­ing it to life and adding a mod­ern con­trast to the orig­i­nal ceil­ing above, while art­work by lo­cal artist Sol Fabrega was hung on the walls. Beds by No­va­mo­bili were in­stalled in both the mas­ter and guest rooms, rugs by Wood­notes placed un­der­foot and where the de­sign team were un­able to source fur­ni­ture they cus­tom made them in­stead. The fin­ished ef­fect is a re­flec­tion of the own­ers’ per­son­al­i­ties, and also a re­fresh­ing up­date on tra­di­tional liv­ing—nei­ther so zeit­geist that it will soon feel dated, but cer­tainly a bold de­par­ture from its roots.

LEFT TO RIGHTAm­ple seat­ing at the liv­ing area cre­ates zones for read­ing and so­cial­is­ing; the study is a serene tableau with ac­cents of olive green and earthy tex­tures

PRE­VI­OUS PAGESThe Face to Face sofa from Tac­chini cre­ates a cosy lounge area within the study; a cabi­net from Stel­lar Works houses the home­own­ers’ favourite ob­jects and books

OP­PO­SITE PAGEA pho­to­graphic print by Barcelona artist An­drea Tor­res dec­o­rates a nook at the study; vases and table­ware from Menu dec­o­rate the din­ing ta­ble

THIS PAGEHy­draulic tiles in a bold geo­met­ric print bring the culi­nary space to life; the kitchen is­land cre­ates a ca­sual din­ing spot for the home­own­ers who are avid cooks

THIS PAGE The Cestita lamp from Santa & Cole and other ob­jects on the chest of draw­ers by Zeitraum; botan­i­cal wall­pa­per above the head­board en­liven the mas­ter bed­room; the ter­race area over­looks views of the neigh­bour­hood

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