Apartment in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona
Architecture and interior design: YLAB Arquitectos | www.ylab.es
Authors: Tobias Laarmann and Yolanda Yuste López
Project: Interior | Interior housing refurbishment
Area: 130 m2 interior + 20 m2 terrace
Completion date: 07/2010
Location: Gothic Quarter. Barcelona
Photos: Jordi Canosa & Daniela Cavestany | http://www.jordicanosa.com
YLAB Arquitectos is a Spanish-German architectural design firm formed by Tobias Laarmann and Yolanda Yuste.
From their studio in Barcelona, YLAB works on the design, management and construction of architecture and interior design projects. YLAB is specialized in residential, commercial and corporate design.
The project consists of the renovation of a 130m2 apartment with a terrace, located in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, in a catalogued building located behind the City Hall.
The original space is composed of a sequence of bright and spacious rooms connected by large arched openings, with balconies along the façade and an inner courtyard. Original features are maintained such as traditional Catalan ceilings with wooden beams and vaulted arches, as well as exterior carpentry with wooden shutters.
The project is based on a reinterpretation of the existing spatial structure of different rooms with differentiated uses and atmospheres, redefining the assigned uses and functions and creating new spatial and visual connections without allowing the traditional elements to predominate. The aim is to create a peaceful environment which allows its young owner privacy and a work place, while creating a social meeting place for meals and parties.
We find two areas, one open and social and the other one private: the first is comprised of the sequence of entrance hall, kitchen and living room, while the second consists of the bedroom suite.
The kitchen-dining room, a spacious and clean space, warm and elegant, recalls the old clubs and cafes. The ceiling and longitudinal wall, which begins in the entrance vestibule, are paneled with tinted pine wood slats, assembled by hand. The paneling integrates much of the kitchen furniture and auxiliary spaces, simplifying the geometry of the kitchen space.
The low kitchen furniture is finished, along with the dining table, in bronze metal panel, with a large lid that allows the countertop to be covered. The hanging lamp with its metallic reflection, in gold leaf and Swarovski crystals, contrasts with the warm wood finish. At the back, a division of dark grey glass separates a small guest bedroom from the rest of the space.
The living room is located in the center of the apartment and communicates the rooms with each other. Because of its size and position, it is conceived as a perfect white frame where the furniture, modular and free-standing, can be configured according to the occasion. To achieve this frame the existing walls are rectified, the arched openings are recovered matching the original symmetry, and all the wood carpentry is replaced without losing its original essence.
The master bedroom is simple and introverted, linked with the bathroom through a corridor. Since this is the only bathroom, the doors were re-defined so that the axis corridor-bath could be part of both the bedroom and the living room. The bedroom and corridor furniture are finished in white lacquer integrating the wardrobe and extra storage.
The bathroom is a place of relaxation, intimate and sensual, oriented towards the courtyard garden. The walls are paneled entirely in phenolic board with a high-gloss finish, concealing the storage and perimeter led lighting fixtures. All bathroom fittings are free standing and rounded to enhance the feeling of spaciousness. The shower area and the toilet are hidden behind a translucent glass.
The continuous concrete paving, the walls and new wooden carpentry, all in ivory white, are common elements all through the house, giving light and serving as a common thread throughout the different spaces.