Renovation of an apartment in Gran Vía
'My ideal house exists'. This was what Alex, the owner of this 46 m2 home near the busy Callao Square in Madrid, thought the first time he entered the apartment he bought in 2006 to live alone; a house in which the kitchen was an isolated volume that at the same time was connected to a small living room through a small window and a bedroom with a bathroom where the most characteristic features were the presence of the red color and the natural brickwork on the walls.
Fifteen years later, with a more settled and stable life, focused on journalism and an interest in reading and design, Alex's vital needs had changed, and with them his way of inhabiting the domestic space. That is when he called us with the desire to commission us to carry out a radical renovation of his apartment, adapted to his present reality.
Menta is conceived as a set of five rooms of different uses and sizes, connected. The function of each of these rooms responds to a traditional domestic scheme that, from the street towards the interior of the house, unfolds in two parts displaced according to this sequence of spaces: living room, kitchen/dining room, entrance hall and a bedroom with bathroom.
Between the kitchen and the living room there is a double translucent polycarbonate sliding door, that gives visual and spatial flexibility to the house. This mechanism facilitates the physical independence of both pieces, while simultaneously provides different degrees of privacy in both spaces when needed. One of the side walls, leading to the next room, has floor-to-ceiling mirrors that affect the visual perception of the space.
All the rooms have a modular storage system, attached at least with a wall, that serves the space in which it is located. This system goes from floor to ceiling and has a variety of inner dimensions depending on what it stores: books, appliances, a collection of magazines, clothes or all those design objects that Alex enjoys so much. This perimeter spatial strategy frees up the rest of the space in each room, which is occupied with specific furniture, where the domestic actions of reading, resting, eating, working or sleeping take place.
Both the interior and exterior organization of each module is unique for each room and it’s designed precisely according to the client’s storage needs.
The design of the kitchen-dining and living room modules are structured with niche wooden boards with doors in different finishes, birch laminate or mint green paint - as a tribute to the color that Prada has been using in its stores since the 90´s in Europe.
menta -mint- is also the name of the house which, like the the plant, concentrates in the same element different utilities.
The rest of the modules, the entrance and the bedroom´s wardrobe, are made with mirrored doors that duplicate the space generating abstract and unexpected visions while in the case of the entrance´s module, creates a secret access to the private space.
Also hidden behind a wooden door, at the end of the house is the room where the care and maintenance of the body takes place: the bathroom. This space is designed like the interior of a cave: in the dark. It is tiled with rectangular anthracite-colored pieces that give the space an intimate and relaxing character. A magical and silent bubble, oblivious to the hustle and noise of the city and the neighbors.
It is difficult to imagine a house for life. There are neither typical users nor a prototype of the perfect home, but a perfect home for a specific person at a very specific time in his or her life. And sometimes not even that.
Alex lives in the house he now needs: more flexible and adapted to how he has changed. He enjoys it alone or in company, exploring his domesticity; cooking -always with a glass of wine- reading, working, soaking up the news of the day, watching a film or simply listening, from his sofa, to the hustle and bustle of Gran Vía with the window wide open.
Architecture: gon architects
Lead architect: Gonzalo Pardo
Design team: Carol Linares, Kostís Toulgaridis, María Cecilia Cordero, Cristina Ramírez, Despoina Papadopoulou.
Construction: REDO Construction
Lightning: Oliva lighting
Photography: Subliminal Image (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)
Santa & Cole
painting 1 : artist: Irene Mala + painting 2 : Aprendiendo A Respirar Bajo El Agua" , oil and graphite on canvas, 30x38cm artist: SEANN BRACKIN