Egue y Seta has once again managed to avoid blank solid walls to favour semi-transparent partitions made of greenery as a more sensuous and bland alternative. With their latest project the studio has proven that just about 10 linear meters of walls are more than enough to articulate the more private areas of the house to those meant to welcome and share with the guests. This house with a “lofty” soul and “Green” heart redefine what transparency and spatial openness means to designers and homeowners.
From the outside, the vertical shutters draw wooden strips over a sight of a rich green hedgerow and a leafy bush. ¿Are they just the outside trees reflected over the windows panes? ¿or are these transparencies? To step in this former commercial space turned into a loft, we need to open a wide and generous solid “Iroco” wood set of double doors with iron fittings custom made at the owner´s iron foundry. And as soon as we set foot over the natural oak parquet, we are welcomed by a huge “fish tank” without fish, were leaves and green blossoms float in amidst almost liquid light. We are not talking about the typical bamboo reeds, nor about the very solemn Zen like interior garden, but about an arrangement of local trees of varying heights over a bed of pine bark splashed over by a cascade of light beaming from a false skylight. Surrounding this spectacular garden: The whole house.
To the left, caved in the building foundations, we find the living room, surrounded by oversized steps over which an “U” shaped arrangement of cement colour velvet cushions work as a sofa. Over it, an eclectic but subtle mix of designer, hand made, and vintage cushions. From the living room area one can look directly into the interior garden, but also out, through the large window panes; and facing in the opposite direction, the dining area and the kitchen just a few centimetres away but at a higher level.
In the dining area, the superb Bedrock Plank A wooden table by the Italian brand Riba 1920, surrounded by the timeless Eames chairs in a concrete tone. The whole arrangement lit by two bundles of oversized clear balloon light bulbs that hang from a deep grey industrial ceiling with metallic beams. To the right a “one of a kind” motorcycle restored by the family craftsmen.
Behind the dining areas you’ll find a seemingly technical and industrial kitchen that offers a clean and sophisticated look due to the large and shiny vertical planes of stainless steel that sheet all cabinet doors and side panels. But at the same time, the combination with natural wood horizontal worktops, give the space a cosy warmth while making it practical when it comes to prepare the wholesome dishes and fancy cocktails the whole area seems to be asking for.
All this metallic sparkle and stainless steel sheeting enclose the latest generation appliances: a double side by side refrigerator with a wine cellar (Liehber), a panelled grain coffee maker, a smart induction cook top with teppanyaki hot plate, a carbon filter extraction hood, and a laundry and ironing station with means of drainage and ventilation integrated within a cabinet (all AEG). Behind a sliding crystal door a transparent storage pantry exhibits all types of local delicacies, fresh cooking species and wines, all lit up by rail directional projectors cutting themselves out from a dark chalkboard background. Hanging over the isle that works as a storage space and preparation surface at the same time, a pair of vintage “Lindse” iron lamps by Francisco Segarra, and surrounding the piece, five metallic “Bofinger” stools of the same brand turn the area into a bar and the perfect place for brunch.
Going around the living room, this time through the left corridor, we step over a concrete runway over which a set of powerful light projectors have been built into the floor in order to gently grace from beneath a naked craft brick wall. Towards the end of this corridor a large solid oak swinging door, without handle or lock, seems to promise to be always open to welcome you to the more private areas of the house.
In the master’s bedroom, the bed and headboard stand out for their unique, honest and apparently simple design. Nevertheless, the custom made piece fabricated with natural oak and metallic sewer grates, is at the same time bed frame, night stand, lit headboard, dividing partition and shoe rack on its back side. Behind it, a walk in closet of pure geometry made of anthracite grey laminate reflects itself on a backstage like full size mirror, while offering a soft and confortable dark carpet flooring and just enough storage and seating space for a couple who likes to dress for the occasion and to collect sport shoes. To the right hand side of the bed, and leaning against the wall a two seater chesterfield couch upholstered in tobacco leather by Francisco Segarra is crowned by a couple of stuffed fabric reindeer heads (Luzio) which are true decorative trophies. Wrapped in the raw wool blankets that dress the bed one could watch a movie projected on a roll away screen that stores itself away within the wooden pendant ceiling, so the main interior garden is always visible through the master´s bathroom´s transparent enclosure.
Here intimacy is redefined and it is subject to either loneliness or the closing of the wooden venetian blinds. In exchange, the room offers a joyful sight directly into the garden, natural light and a marvellous sense of spatial openness. The elongated rectangular shape that defines the bathroom it is laid out symmetrically so to offer two toilet seats and two independent vanity tops separated by an enormous common shower tray over which an oversized ceiling mounted shower sprinkler promises to pour down like rain. At the back end of the tray, a framed concrete bench hosts a set of designer stainless steel shower taps while running past the glass partitions at each side of the shower to turn itself in to a vanity top. Over this portion, bowl shaped porcelain sinks (Roca), slim sophisticated taps and a set of mirrors hanging from the ceiling virtually floating against the green background. The suspended toilet seats and its recessed push buttons were built in walls covered with white rectangular bevelled tiles, in the style of those in old metro stations so to convey some urban feeling to the space.
Walking across the bedroom, the wooden flooring guides us to the opposite side of the house, and this vaguely varnished oak corridor, towards its end, turns itself into a desk, due to the change in the floor level that once again is caved in the foundations of the building so to create a lower and enclosed home office area and entertainment room. The whiteness of the enveloping walls its here interrupted by a plane sheeted in corten steel that add depth and texture to the room while chromatically relating to the hand made sofas with leather seats and grey wool backs installed over wooden palets with wheels. Little more can this room ask for but a couple of abstract paintings, if we take into consideration that while seating here, you also have once again, a privileged view onto the garden and the outside of the house.
Just before coming full circle around the garden and returning to the entrance hall, the visitor might want to use the toilet: Behind a sliding door, and covered in handmade clay enamelled tiles, the courtesy toilet stands as the hidden “green” jewel of the house. Looking directly into the interior garden you can wash your hands in a slender pedestal sink with a slim stainless steel floor tap (Muse – Catalano). Its recessed nickel push button blends in with a wall size mirror in the back which allows for a brief make up retouch, but most importantly, one that brings into the interior of the room all the freshness and shades of green that make this house a comfortable refuge and a wild urban paradise.Location: Barcelona, Spain Architect: Egue y Seta Project name: Loft in Terrassa