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    H3O creates “unpredictable” zigzagging interiors for lightning-struck home

    Three jagged walls delineate the colourful spaces inside this converted barn in Sant Just Desvern, Spain, transformed by Barcelona studio H3O to reference a lightning bolt that struck the building generations ago.

    The one-storey Relámpago House is a former barn with a white-painted barrel-vaulted ceiling in the Spanish town of Sant Just Desvern on the outskirts of Barcelona.
    Relámpago House features a colour-block interiorFor the interior scheme, H3O took cues from an old family legend told by the homeowner, whose ancestors are said to have survived a lightning bolt that struck the barn and entered the building through the chimney, narrowly avoiding the family members sheltering under the dining table.
    “Transforming a story into architecture seemed to us a fascinating and fun challenge,” the studio told Dezeen.
    H3O delineated spaces with jagged walls informed by lightning boltsH3O inserted three intersecting walls shaped like lightning bolts into the plan, defining rooms within the otherwise open space.

    “This geometry choice is not random – it emulates the unpredictable trajectory and rapid dispersion of a lightning bolt’s energy,” added the studio.
    The all-pink bedroom is accessed via a colourful doorThe colourful intersecting walls enclose a private bedroom and bathroom, as well as forming the perimeter of the open-plan kitchen and living area.
    This communal space features zigzagged strip lighting suspended above a boxy metal kitchen island and walls clad in green glazed tiles.
    Strip lighting was suspended above a metal kitchen islandSugary pink walls delineate the bedroom, accessed via a contrasting door that is painted dark green on one side and deep blue on the other.
    “The interaction of these colours with the opening and closing doors creates an experience of spatial fluidity inspired by the pop art aesthetic of the 70s, reflecting a radical, fun and optimistic spirit,” explained H3O.
    The angular bathroom has a blue ceiling and wallsCharacterised by a mixture of green tiles and floor-to-ceiling dark blue paint, the bathroom is the smallest and most angular of the spaces, with a jagged, asymmetric mirror that wraps one corner of the room and tops a geometric sink.
    “The construction of the walls involved a meticulous design and execution process, ensuring that every angle and twist served an aesthetic function and optimised habitability and indoor living,” the studio said.
    Stones were collected to create “seemingly out-of-context” door handlesSmall stones were collected to create “seemingly out-of-context” door handles throughout the dwelling, adding organic accents to the otherwise colour-blocked interior.
    As a final nod to the home’s tumultuous history, a sculptural silver lightning bolt now protrudes from the chimney.

    Masquespacio founders create home and office where “everything revolves around play”

    “The idea of a lightning bolt redefining space, filling it with form and colour, pushed us to explore beyond conventional boundaries,” reflected H3O.
    “Relámpago House transforms a forgotten barn into a visual spectacle.”
    A silver lightning bolt protrudes from the building’s chimneyVarious other architectural projects have been defined by zigzagging motifs.
    London-based Outpost studio created a jagged zinc kitchen extension in Haggerston while German practice Wulf Architekten designed a sports centre for a school in Überlingen with a folding roof to reference the mountains of the surrounding Alps.
    The photography is by José Hevia. 

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    Masquespacio founders create home and office where “everything revolves around play”

    The founders of Spanish studio Masquespacio have transformed a traditional Valencian farmhouse into their self-designed home and studio, with maximalist interiors that nod to the Memphis movement.

    Creative and life partners Ana Milena Hernández Palacios and Christophe Penasse renovated the 1920s villa, which was once a farmhouse on the outskirts of Valencia, to create a hybrid home and studio that reflects their maximalist approach to interiors.
    Masquespacio has designed a live-work space in Valencia”Everything revolves around the concept of play,” explained Hernández Palacios, who co-founded Masquespacio with Penasse in 2010.
    “We’ve been influenced by many styles over the last decade, from New Memphis to art deco and futurism,” Penasse added. “We can say that our private home is a mix of it all.”
    The ground floor holds the studio’s workspacesThe duo maintained the building’s original timber front door and white facade decorated with light-blue window frames and ornate grilles.

    Inside, the ground floor was reserved for their studio, spread across several interconnected meeting rooms in the former farmstead, known locally as an alquería.
    Masquespacio restored the building’s original hydraulic floor tilesHere, Masquespacio restored the building’s decoratively patterned hydraulic floor tiles alongside its traditional doors and windows.
    Painted in bright hues, they help to colour-code the different office spaces, filled with the studio’s characteristic chunky, lumpy and latticed furniture.
    There is a double-height interior courtyard at the centre of the home”As always, the project includes a mix of colours, textures and forms – one of the main aspects of all our designs, no matter what aesthetic we’re working with,” Penasse told Dezeen.
    At the centre of the home is a double-height interior courtyard illuminated by skylights, with exposed-brick walls painted in lilac surrounded by wiggly flowerbeds with lush statement cheese plants.
    From the courtyard, visitors can see up to an interior balcony on the first floor, which is accessed via a purple concrete staircase and contains the living spaces.
    The couple’s bed is encased in a green dome next to a hot-pink seating booth.The balcony reveals two sculptural objects – a giant green dome that conceals the couple’s bed and a curved hot-pink screen that hides a seating booth.
    This immersive furniture – Penasse’s favourite part of the project – creates a focal point that connects both levels of the house but also provides more private quarters for the couple despite the open nature of the overall plan.
    A mosaic of yellow tiles defines the bathroom”There are no wall partitions to hide our home [from downstairs] but it’s kept private by the bed’s form and a semi-transparent green curtain that allows us to take advantage of the natural light almost everywhere on the upper floor,” explained Penasse.
    The sleeping area is connected to the main living space via a tunnel-like corridor, which includes an all-yellow bathroom with triangular cabinets and walls clad with a mosaic of handmade ceramic tiles.

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    Opposite the bathroom is a colourful open-air terrace featuring circular windows and similar built-in seating to Bun Turin – an Italian burger joint designed by Masquespacio with boxy blue-tiled tables created to look like swimming pools.
    “Geometry can be found all over our house,” explained Hernández Palacios. “Everything is a game of circles and triangles.”
    The terrace follows a similar geometry to the interiorsThe light blue kitchen includes large, triangular alcoves and cupboards finished in natural stone and aluminium, designed to conceal utilities.
    There is also an island made from veiny marble and petite glazed tiles. Bespoke Masquespacio bar stools were wrapped in matching pale blue fabric.
    Triangular cupboards feature in the kitchenNext to the open-plan kitchen, the living and dining spaces include more brightly coloured furniture from the studio’s Mas Creations collection, which features the same twisted and angular shapes and soft upholstery as the pieces downstairs.
    Floor-to-ceiling curtains form a backdrop for a snaking lime green sofa, while dark green dining chairs with pyramidal backrests were positioned around a jewel-like glass table.
    Striking pyramid-shaped dining chairs continue the maximalist theme”Ninety-five per cent of the furniture and objects in our house are part of our Mas Creations collection, locally designed and produced by our studio,” said Penasse.
    Similarly bold projects from Masquespacio include a restaurant in Milan, Italy, with interiors that take cues from futuristic spaceships and the first Mango Teen store in Barcelona featuring vivid graphic shapes.
    The photography is courtesy of Masquespacio. 

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    Destudio inverts day and night zones at redesigned Casa Inversa apartment

    Architecture office Destudio has remodelled an apartment in Valencia for a couple of empty nesters, swapping the positions of the living and sleeping areas so they perform better for the owners’ lifestyles.

    The clients, who recently worked with Destudio to design their pharmacy in the Spanish city, invited the studio to oversee the renovation of the 150-square-metre apartment that had been their home for two decades.
    The couple’s grown-up children no longer live with them and Destudio saw this change in circumstances as an opportunity to create an entirely new and more appropriate layout.
    Destudio swapped the positions of living and sleeping areas in Casa Inversa”We worked with the owners to convince them to make a ‘tabula rasa’ of how they lived in this house for the last 20 years and find a better distribution for their actual needs,” Destudio creative director Gabi Ladaria told Dezeen.
    “It was tough for the family to recognise that every wall had to be demolished,” he added, “but when they saw the first plans and 3Ds they realised there were better ways to live in their house, being more honest with their needs in the coming years.”

    An initial survey of how the existing spaces were used informed the decision to switch the position of the private and communal areas so the main living space receives the best of the available sunlight. This act gave the project its name, Casa Inversa.
    The dining area was positioned in the corner of the living roomConversations with the clients revealed that they wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the house as this is where they spend a lot of time preparing and eating meals throughout the day.
    This informed the decision to reduce the size of the dedicated dining area by incorporating it into a corner of the living room.
    The kitchen was designed as the heart of the homeA cantilevered bench minimises the floor area used so the adjacent lounge feels more generous.
    “We use this strategy in our restaurant projects to maximise the number of diners,” Ladaria pointed out, “but here it is used to maximise the space in the other part of the corner bench where the living room is located.”

    Tactile materials “accentuate the value of shadows” in Bolívar House

    The studio added that the table is likely to be used infrequently, mostly when friends or family come to visit, so it was designed like a restaurant booth to make the dining experience feel like eating out.
    The kitchen opens onto a terrace with outdoor seating, while on the opposite wall a wine display backed with semi-opaque glass provides a visual connection with the adjoining utility space. Sliding glass doors can be closed to separate the kitchen and the adjacent sitting room if required.
    Sliding glass doors separate the living area and kitchenThe apartment’s three bedrooms were relocated to the opposite end of the floor plan, where they overlook the building’s internal courtyards.
    The principal bedroom and one of the guest rooms are accommodated in an angular corner that previously housed the living room. The main bedroom’s dressing area features cupboards that extend along one wall, making the most of the space.
    A material palette consisting of clay-rendered walls, oak joinery and porcelain tiles acts as a warm backdrop for the clients’ art collection.
    Clay render covers the wallsWhere possible, Destudio specified furniture from local brands, including the sofa, armchairs and the living room’s library shelving.
    Destudio was founded in 2014 by architects Gabi Ladaria and Nacho Díaz, who studied together at Valencia’s Polytechnic University.
    Other recent residential projects in Valencia include the renovation of a former fisherman’s house using geometric blue-and-white tiling and a copper-toned home in an olive grove.
    The photography is courtesy of Destudio.

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    Isern Serra completes “serene” office for Spanish eyewear brand

    Sculptural custom-made furniture adds artistic flourishes to this otherwise minimal showroom and head office, designed by Spanish interiors studio Isern Serra for eyewear brand Gigi Studios.

    Isern Serra was tasked with creating a holistic scheme for the 900-square-metre headquarters, occupying one floor of a building in the town of Sant Cugat del Vallès just north of Barcelona.
    Isern Serra has filled the Gigi Studios headquarters with custom furnitureThe brief called for a design that creates a sense of spaciousness and comfort while reflecting founder Patricia Remo’s vision of Gigi Studios as a brand.
    “It is also serene, warm and elegant and conceptually close to the idea of a studio and away from the concept of a traditional office, without losing the practicality and functionality,” Isern Serra explained.
    Rows of desks were replaced with more intimate work areasThe building’s rectangular floor plan features a central service core housing the lifts and toilets, with the workspaces, meeting rooms, kitchen and showroom occupying the surrounding O-shaped open space.

    Serra and his team positioned the kitchen and showroom at one end of the plan and placed the meeting rooms and client areas at the other, leaving the longer sides open to optimise circulation.
    Concrete bases for the work tables were cast in situVarious bespoke furniture pieces, conceived by Isern Serra as “small works of art”, bring a distinct personality to the different formal and informal spaces.
    These interventions were designed to embody Gigi Studios’ design ethos while standing out against the warm and minimal backdrop.
    “The project aims to experiment with the limits of the workspace and seek a new concept that goes hand in hand with the idea of domus and museum,” Isern Serra explained.
    Curtains can be used to cordon off the lounge areaA large circular sofa framed in stainless steel provides a bold statement in one of the reception areas.
    The sculptural piece fulfils a dual function as a seating area and a space for working, with tables and book storage integrated into the backrest around the perimeter.

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    Similarly, the building’s central core is wrapped in a layer of built-in storage units including circular stainless-steel niches that incorporate shelves for displaying books and materials.
    Rather than a typical office layout with rows of workstations, the large open spaces are separated into more intimate zones with a more domestic scale.
    A Boa Pouf by Sabine Marcelis provides informal seatingNext to the lobby is a design area featuring tables made from concrete that was cast in situ. Task seating surrounds the work table and a taller table is accompanied by stools, while lenses for the different glasses are stored in a custom-made unit.
    The second workspace features a large C-shaped sofa with a concrete base that was also cast in situ. Custom-made tables and one of Sabine Marcelis’s Boa Poufs complete this lounge-style space, which can be visually separated from the rest of the office using curtains on either side.
    The showroom is visible from the office through a circular windowA circular window with rounded edges provides a glimpse of the showroom, which is dominated by two sculptural tables with concrete tops supported by rough chunks of travertine stone.
    A built-in tiered display is used to highlight different Gigi Studios’ eyewear. The rest of the collection is housed in a backlit cabinet, while a mirror-fronted unit conceals a large screen used for presentations.
    The kitchen is located next to the showroom so that the two spaces can easily be used together for events. Here, a homely, Mediterranean feel is created via a five-metre-long sharing table, custom-made alongside the accompanying stools.
    Display tables in the showroom are held up by rough chunks of travertineThe sizeable kitchen island is finished in micro-cement and features a curved base that enhances its sculptural presence.
    A curved corridor incorporating a sofa niche on one wall provides access to offices and a meeting room positioned to have the best views of the surrounding countryside.
    Internal columns are used to support one end of concrete tables built in each of the workspaces, furnished with classic designs including Marcel Breuer’s Wassily and Cesca chairs.
    Large sharing tables allow for communal eating in the kitchenInterior designer Isern Serra founded his self-titled studio in Barcelona in 2008 and works across architecture, interiors and industrial design.
    Previous projects including a rose-coloured shop for Barcelona’s Moco Museum that was based on a computer-generated image and a minimalist office for digital artist Andrés Reisinger, which was named small workplace interior of the year at the 2023 Dezeen Awards.
    The photography is by Salva López with art direction by Aasheen Mittal.

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    Lucas y Hernández Gil adds multi-use greenhouse to Madrid bungalow

    A renovated 1970s bungalow with “kitsch character” and a greenhouse that doubles as a living room feature in Casamontesa – a weekend home designed by Spanish studio Lucas y Hernández Gil.

    The project began when a couple asked the studio to overhaul a single-storey house that was once part of a hotel complex on the outskirts of Madrid.
    The renovated bungalow and a multifunctional greenhouse (above) make up CasamontesaThe brief later expanded to include a multifunctional greenhouse that can be used as a workspace, a guest bedroom, a gym or simply as a garden room.
    Lucas y Hernández Gil, led by architects Cristina Domínguez Lucas and Fernando Hernández-Gil Ruano, developed a distinct character for each building.
    The main house is a bungalow built in the 1970sCasamontesa’s renovated bungalow has a warm, playful style that draws on the 1970s aesthetic while the garden pavilion has a more utilitarian feel.

    “The owners, a young urban couple who love design and live and work in the centre of Madrid, were looking for a functional and compact getaway within a fantastic garden,” Lucas told Dezeen.
    “They wanted a very comfortable and flexible home that would be useful for both working and getting together with friends.”
    The interior centres around a new kitchen islandThe bungalow renovation involved simplifying the interior layout to create a combined kitchen, dining room and living room, with a bedroom and bathroom off to one side.
    “The house, in addition to being small, was very compartmentalised,” explained Lucas.
    The materials palette includes pink marble and handmade tilesTo unify the newly open-plan living space, the designers installed an island that serves as a worktop, dining table and social gathering place.
    This island features a countertop made from Portuguese pink marble while its sides are covered in the same handmade burgundy tiles that line an adjacent window recess.
    An arched fireplace provides a focal point in the living room”The rest of the surfaces – Campaspero stone floors and waxed tinted plaster walls – establish a dialogue by contrast with the colourful and shiny surface of the tiles,” added Lucas.
    Key details in the living room include an arched fireplace and a tadelakt plaster coffee table, while the bedroom features semi-circular marble nightstands.

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    For Casamontesa’s garden room, the design team customised a prefabricated greenhouse.
    A pergola extends the building volume outwards in a bid to blur the boundary between inside and out, and is topped with wooden blinds to provide shade.
    A pergola extends the width of the greenhouseA wooden box on wheels provides an additional bedroom, described as a “small Shigeru Ban-style mobile room”.
    Other additions include thermal curtains and an automatic shading and ventilation system, which allow for versatile use of the space throughout the year.
    A “Shigeru Ban-style mobile room” provides an additional sleeping space”By complementing the programme of the original bungalow, a more complete and flexible program is achieved, overcoming the limitations of a weekend house,” added Lucas.
    Other recent projects by Lucas y Hernández Gil include a bar featuring extreme colour blocking and an apartment with a hidden closet.
    The photography is by José Hevia.

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    Zooco Estudio resurrects “vestige of the past” for brutalist restaurant

    Madrid-based Zooco Estudio has created a striking restaurant within the Cantabrian Maritime Museum in Santander, Spain, that celebrates the building’s brutalist architecture.

    The restaurant is set within a dramatic vault of concrete paraboloids that were unearthed during the renovation, while a slatted timber ceiling pays homage to the area’s shipbuilding legacy.
    Zooco Estudio added a restaurant to the second floor of the Cantabrian Maritime MuseumOverlooking the tranquil waters of Santander Bay, the restaurant is located on the second floor of the landmark Cantabrian Maritime Museum, which was designed in the mid-1970s by architects Vicente Roig Forner and Ángel Hernández Morales.
    The paraboloids were an original fixture of the structure and supported the roof of what was once the museum’s patio.
    Oak details were designed to contrast the restaurant’s concrete archesThe studio focused on restoring the historic fabric of the space and reviving the paraboloids, which had been concealed for around 20 years, as “a vestige of the past”.

    “In 2003, the building was renovated and as part of this intervention, the paraboloids were covered with a new roof and the space between them and the perimeter of the building was closed with glass, generating a covered space where there was previously a terrace,” Zooco Estudio co-founder Javier Guzmán told Dezeen.
    “We wanted the concrete paraboloids to be the absolute protagonists of the space and by removing the paint and the coating, the paraboloids are visible again and regain their full prominence.”
    The renovation exposed the raw concrete surface of the paraboloidsThe previous renovation also altered the dimensions of the space and reconfigured the volume as a square.
    To promote symmetry, four additional concrete triangles were added to balance out the original paraboloids in the brutalist restaurant.
    Slatted wooden ceiling panels bridge the gaps between the archesOverhead, a false ceiling of slatted timber panels frames the concrete arches.
    The studio designed theses triangular boards to reference the arrangement of timber across the hull of a boat, a nod to the museum and the area’s nautical past.

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    The panels also serve the purpose of concealing the restaurant’s mechanical systems.
    “The wooden slats bring warmth and friendliness to the space while allowing us to solve all the technical needs for air conditioning, heating and lighting, leaving them hidden,” Guzmán said.
    “In this way, we ensure that all these elements do not interfere with the dialogue of concrete and wood, which are presented as continuous and clean elements.”
    Walls of floor-to-ceiling glazing offer views across the bayThe interior layout was largely dictated by the low arches of the elliptic paraboloids that dominate the brutalist restaurant.
    “The geometry of the existing structure conditions the space, because its height in its lower part is impractical, so a large bench is arranged around the entire contour that allows us to take advantage of that space and organise the distribution of the rest of the floor plan,” added Guzmán.
    Grey porcelain floors mirror the concrete paraboloidsLike the ceiling panels, the interior finishes and furnishings allude to the maritime history that the building commemorates.
    “The use of wood and steel for all the furniture is reminiscent of the materials used in shipbuilding – the furniture has slight curvatures that are reminiscent of the aerodynamic shapes of boats,” explained Guzmán.
    “Likewise, the lamps are inspired by the masts for ship sails.”
    Zooco Estudio also designed the restaurant’s curved timber furnitureAnother key change was the replacement of the perimeter glass wall.
    The inclined glazing was swapped for vertical glass, a decision that reclaimed external space for the patio, which stretches the length of the restaurant and overlooks the harbour below.
    “When we are inside, the feeling is the same as when we are inside a boat, there is only water around, and that is why we used clean glass from floor to ceiling, generating a perimeter terrace as happens on boats,” said Guzmán.
    The terrace features green curvilinear outdoor furnitureOther projects by Zooco Estudio include a renovated house in Madrid and a co-working space with a kids’ play area in California.
    The photography is by David Zarzoso.
    Project credits:
    Architect: Zooco EstudioConstruction: Rotedama Constructora SLLighting: Zooco EstudioFurniture: Zooco Estudio

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    Tactile materials “accentuate the value of shadows” in Bolívar House

    Spanish architect Juan Gurrea Rumeu used a palette of warm, textural materials and carefully positioned voids to create atmospheric living spaces inside this house he designed for himself and his wife in Barcelona.

    Rumeu and his wife, the Madrid-born artist Beatriz Dubois, decided to move to the architect’s home city for work after living for several years in Paris.
    Bolívar House takes up a narrow site on Barcelona’s Carrer de BolívarThey purchased a site occupied by a derelict storage building in the Vallcarca district that was affordable due to its northern aspect, narrow proportions and busy urban context.
    Bolívar House is located on the Carrer de Bolívar and is surrounded by buildings from various eras, ranging from early 20th-century art nouveau houses to industrial workshops and 1970s apartment blocks.
    Three square openings animate its street-facing facadeIn this chaotic and energetic environment, Gurrea Rumeu’s practice Gr-os – working with local architects Mercè Badal and Teresa Rumeu – sought to create a restful retreat defined by its considered use of space and light.

    “Despite its complicated urban setting, surrounded by taller buildings and heavy traffic, the interior atmosphere is surprisingly peaceful,” Gurrea Rumeu told Dezeen.
    “The position and scale of openings frames views and curates intimacy and light.”
    Dark wood was used throughout to create a sense of calmThe building itself comprises a monolithic grey box punctured by three square openings, which animate its street-facing elevation while defining views from within.
    A concrete plinth becomes a column that supports a visible steel lintel, which also acts as a recessed channel to hold utility cables as they pass across the simple frontage.
    One of the building’s structural steel columns is left exposed on each levelThe exposed beam provides a subtle ornamental detail that references the facade composition and, in particular, the decorative frieze found on a traditional residence across the street.
    The house’s exterior is rendered using a textured stucco that evokes rustic Catalan properties called masias. According to the architect, this finish adds a textural element to the otherwise minimal elevation that recalls an artist’s brushstrokes.
    The dwelling shares its long and narrow site with a multi-storey apartment building, in which Gurrea Rumeu and Dubois were able to add a studio on the basement level.

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    The studio is visible across a central courtyard separating it from the home’s kitchen and dining area, which also looks onto the lush tropical planting through a full-height opening.
    At the front of the property, a double-height concrete volume containing the garage and a stairwell provides an acoustic barrier between the living areas and the street.
    Three bedrooms and the main living room are accommodated on the first and second floors, with the bedrooms at the rear overlooking the tranquil courtyard.
    The kitchen opens onto a small courtyardDespite being a north-facing house, the design is not focused on capturing as much natural light as possible, Gurrea Rumeu explained, but rather on emphasising the moody atmosphere through careful material choices.
    “We decided to use honest and expressive materials which are pleasant for the senses and accentuate the value of shadows,” the architect pointed out.
    “In-situ concrete walls, dark walnut floors, white marble and glazed tiles create a rich atmosphere in which subtle changes of light become apparent throughout the day and the seasons.”
    Monolithic wooden staircases feature in the living room and the foyerGurrea Rumeu also used simple architectural interventions to amplify the sensorial experience within the home, with voids and openings allowing sunlight to illuminate the spaces in intriguing ways.
    Monolithic wooden staircases located in the entrance lobby and living room follow the home’s two main axes and add complexity to the circulation. Their bold presence helps to emphasise the volume of these double-height spaces.
    The majority of the building’s structure is left exposed, with services and false ceilings concentrated towards the centre of the plan.
    Concrete ceilings add a brutalist touchA central concrete core conceals the upper flights of stairs and supports the floor slabs, while one of the structural steel columns is left exposed on each level as a nod to the building’s construction.
    The columns become a feature in their respective rooms, becoming thinner higher up in the building as the load reduces.
    The property contains a limited and carefully curated selection of furniture including vintage pieces, bespoke elements and classic designs chosen for their special significance to the owners.
    Tiles complete the home’s tactile material paletteGurrea Rumeu received his master’s from the Royal College of Art in London before completing his Professional Practice diploma at the AA School of Architecture. He worked for firms in Beijing, Paris and Barcelona before establishing his own studio in 2020.
    Other recently completed homes in Barcelona include La Clara by CRÜ, which is set inside a former public laundry, and a brick extension to a 19th-century terrace house by H Arquitectes.
    The photography is by Max Hart Nibbrig.

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    Plantea Estudio plays with light and shadow for Acid cafe interior

    Spanish studio Plantea Estudio has completed a cafe and bakery inside an early 20th-century building in Madrid, contrasting the original dark tones of the interior with modern steel surfaces.

    Taking over a former gem store on a busy street in the Justicia district, the Acid cafe and bakeshop was designed to provide a place for quiet conversation away from the bustle of the city.
    The Acid Cafe and Bakeshop provides an intimate space away from the busy streetIt occupies the ground floor of a turn-of-the-century building, which is rich with historic details such as a deep storefront made from wood and green marble, with curved windows on either side of the entrance.
    Plantea Estudio sought to retain the original character of the space by restoring elements including the facade and the internal wood shelving and windows, as well as a decorative plaster frieze above the new serving area.
    Reflective steel contrasts with the space’s existing dark-toned interiorMinimal architectural interventions and a carefully chosen material palette help to define Acid’s interior ambience while supporting the new function of the space.

    “We completed and adapted what was there and added the rest to match this same character – or to contrast as an opposition that enhances it,” Plantea Estudio architectural designer Carla Morán told Dezeen.
    “Old and new, figurative and abstract, colour and shadow, rough and soft, matt and satin, all in the same space as different sides of the same coin.”
    The walls and ceilings are finished with warm-grey lime wash paintThe shop was previously divided into two parts, with the rear part housing storage and toilets. Plantea Estudio retained this configuration but looked to make better use of these neglected space at the back by creating a cosy lounge area for patrons.
    In the front part of the space, wooden shelves were sanded and varnished to return them to their original condition. Any anachronous additions were removed and replaced with shelves or doors painted in a deep red chosen to complement the wood tones.
    A mirror added to the ceiling above Acid’s entrance increases the sense of space in this area and multiplies reflections produced by the curved windows.

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    The building’s original terrazzo was uncovered from underneath layers of flooring, while the walls and ceiling were finished with a warm-grey lime wash paint that contributes to the cosy atmosphere.
    A coffee machine and pastry display sit on a stainless steel counter that provides a point of contrast with its precise and modern appearance, softened by a matte finish that produces blurred reflections.
    Original terrazzo flooring was uncovered by removing layers of flooringThe elongated lounge area at the rear of the unit is designed as a refuge from the busy neighbourhood, where guests can relax in semi-darkness with a coffee and pastry.
    “The interior space was quite dark, only connected to the exterior part by two openings in a structural wall,” Morán recalled. “So we thought about a room in shadow and quietness, with the reflection of the soft light over a stainless steel shared table.”
    A cosy lounge occupies the rear of the bakeryThe room’s new floor is made from plywood that produces a soft sound underfoot as guests transition from the terrazzo-floored shop to this calmer and quieter space.
    The wood is painted a deep blue colour to match the walls at either end of the room and contribute to the intimate half-lit atmosphere. A row of exposed light bulbs hangs above the table to provide gentle illumination along with shimmering reflections.
    Blue-painted plywood floors were chosen to muffle stepsThis is the third project that Plantea Studio has completed for the owners of Acid cafe in Madrid, following the Gota wine bar with its cave-like dining room.
    The studio was founded in 2008 by brothers Luis and Lorenzo Gil. Its other projects include a raw and minimal shop for footwear brand Veja and a multi-purpose entertainment space housed in a former erotic cinema.
    The photography is by Salva López.
    Project credits:
    Architecture and interior design: Plantea EstudioPromoter: Acid caféFurniture: Plantea Estudio and FramaLighting: Frama, Santa & Cole, Vitra, Ferm Living and AnglepoiseGraphic design: Koln studioArt: Armando MesíasPaint: Bauwerk colour

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