In a 1940s building in Madrid’s beatnik Conde Duque neighbourhood, is a little apartment that could well belong in Mexico City. Or along the Galician coastline. “The clients are bicultural: she is Mexican, he is Galician. Plus, they are avid travellers, so they yearned to bring all those influences into their new home,” say Inés Sierra and Javier De La Higuera, co-founders and partners of Madrid-based architecture and design firm Sierra + De La Higuera, for whom the refurbishment project became a zany experiment with colour.
Colour wasn’t the only consideration, of course. For Inés and Javier, the original plan was a bit of a let-down, a complete antithesis to the open, airy and luminous aesthetic they had envisioned for the home. “It consisted of a series of rooms laid out along a long windowless hallway,” recalls the pair of the many-walled, multi-corridor layout, commonly associated with heritage buildings in Madrid. What naturally followed was a series of wall demolitions in a bid to create an open-plan kitchen, dining and living space.
On the inside, the apartment gleams like a vibrant jewel box, courtesy of the traditional Moroccan zellige tiles that characterise the various spaces: the terraces and living room are underpinned by a linear yellow tile that pops in the sunlight, while an emerald-glazed backsplash in the kitchen holds a mirror to the living room upholstery. There are plenty of colourful accents too, serving as a sunny counterpoint to the muted shell.
Glimmers of the couple’s travels jump out at you everywhere you look. The kitchen and dining room, for example, hold a mirror to Mexico’s lush landscapes, while the yellow-tiled terraces and living room nod to the couple’s travels to Singapore. A large bookshelf wraps around the kitchen, dining room and living area, as if connecting stories from these faraway lands.
“This piece is very special to the clients, as it holds all the objects they have collected on each of their journeys, in addition to all their books,” say Inés and Javier.
The bedrooms—two in all—are located at the northern end of the apartment. The primary suite, in particular, is of special note, with a cloud-grey carpet that evokes the serenity of Galicia.
Wherever you go, and however you look at it, it’s safe to say that the home truly is a one-way ticket to (almost) everywhere.
[Images courtesy of Sierra + De La Higuera. Photography by Germán Saiz.]