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Monday, January 27, 2020

Celebrating layers of history via hospitality

Compiled by Team IAnD
Photography: José Hevia; courtesy the architects
Read Time: 3 mins
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The architectural resuscitation of the Can Bordoy in Palma de Mallorca by OHLAB respectfully intervenes with the existing architectural crossbreeding, maintaining the traces of the past without any allusions to a lost glory…

The small 24-room hotel Can Bordoy - Grand House & Garden in the heart of the historic city evokes the experience of visiting a house more than a hotel.  Its compact and historic environs boast a magnificent garden, swimming pool, spa and panoramic terrace spread across 2,500 sq. m. with its garden being its most distinctive feature. 

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Architects Paloma Hernaiz and Jaime Oliver of OHLAB have directed the architecture and interior design taking great care that the renovation does not pretend to hide the heterodox eclecticism of the existing building, but instead conciliates and celebrates the different layers of history and clearly highlights the new interventions that are necessary to give the house its new use. 

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Designed and developed throughout the building, a collection of distinctive contemporary interventions is in dialogue with the existing building. On the ground floor a green corridor of vegetation invades the dining rooms connecting the garden with the courtyard and the street... At the entrance, a thin mirror, deformed into an ellipse by the structure of a staircase impossible to reproduce today, reinforces the structure of the stair and frames the reflection of the visitor entering the building as the new ephemeral protagonist of the house... In the entrance hall, a mirror ceiling hides the new installations and doubles the height of the bar and the velvet curtain that surrounds it... In the main staircase, the skylight is flooded with water becoming a small pool with a transparent bottom that creates a play of light through the water, flooding the staircase with caustic reflections... 

The new section of stairs that was needed to connect the last floor is designed with a modern steel structure covered in mirror finished steel cladding making its exterior disappear but also duplicating the caustic reflections through the stairwell while the interior of the staircase is finished with a warm and robust walnut... On the floor of the staircase, a circular glass embedded in the slab connects with the spa located in the basement and allows the spa user in the basement to see the sky through the water plane on the roof... 

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A series of large velvet curtains disguise the new bathrooms in the rooms creating a scenography where the bathroom happens to be the new set; instead of hiding this new element, its use is celebrated... Furthermore, mirror walls sometimes hide sanitary elements such as toilets and showers, reflecting the space these elements have stolen and, at the same time, emphasizing the contemporaneity of these new uses... These are some of the strategies that make possible the new use of the house and the dialogue with the building’s history.

The highlight of the exercise is the expansive garden, rich in the antiquity of the existing vegetation and for the sound of the birds that inhabit it, along with the inner courtyard of the house and the roof terrace with panoramic views over the city, that adds up to a total of almost 1,000 sq. m. of outdoor space. One of the project’s most important interventions has been opening the doors of the garden to the city and giving it visibility from the entrance courtyard and from the street. Thanks to the new use of the building you can now visit most of the garden through the open terrace of the restaurant.

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The traditional Japanese technique of Kintsugi (the art of repairing broken antique porcelain with a precious material, such as gold dust, and thus obtaining a repaired piece that does not hide the fracture, but shows it and celebrates it and whose result is a piece that may have even more value than the ceramic before breaking) is at the heart of this project. It carefully preserves the romantic and decadent atmosphere found in the building and is deliberately contrasted with interventions and elements from different epochs.  

The eclecticism of the architecture is reflected in the selection of furniture with pieces from very different eras and origins as well as the bespoke furniture designed by OHLAB.  

Fact File: 
Client: Mikael Hall
Architecture and Interior Design: OHLAB / Paloma Hernaiz and Jaime Oliver
OHLAB team: Paloma Hernaiz and Jaime Oliver with Rebeca Lavín, Silvia Morais, Laura Colomer, Amaia Barazar, Manuela Sánchez, Lara Ortega, Eusebiu Spac, Tomislav Konjevod, Eleni Oikonomaki, Katerina Kotsampasi, Nikola Kozhuharov, Stela Dineva, Rosa Fuentes, Joana Aguilera, Amalia Stavropoulou
Landscape: Salva Cañís (master gardener), OHLAB (landscape masterplan)
Acoustical: Tafor Consulting
Lighting: OHLAB
Archaeologist: Elvira González
Commissioned Artwork: Pedro Oliver
Graphic Design: Studio Roses
Area: 2500 sq. m.
Location: La Lonja, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

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