Designing A Dream


Ibiza is synonymous with whitewashed villas and pared back interiors. L-J Andrew explores what it takes to build and style your own trendy patch of the island

The international community that calls Ibiza its home (or at least its favourite holiday destination) gives a cosmopolitan mix of different cultures and styles to the tiny island – making it a hub of creativity; one that extends further than just music and fashion. If you’re looking for some architectural and interior design inspiration, then a drive through the countryside will whet your property appetite with consummate ease.

For millennia, Ibiza was an agricultural society made up of small family holdings. Houses were built in harmony with the landscape – plot shape, the nature of the farm and the size of the family dictated the initial design. The basic design module was the cube, and further cubes were added as required by the family’s growth. There’s an architectural grammar to the finca, yet builders never worked from written plans. Techniques, rules and styles were passed down orally from generation to generation.

“Farmhouses in Ibiza are as unique as snowflakes,” explains property consultant Maria Tobin, “although each shares components and uses the same materials. Today, the new finca reflects the character of the old finca, albeit adapted to modern living. The property is usually surrounded by terraced fields supported by stone walls to suit the hillside location. The architecture is simple and sober within dependent square modules organised around a rectangular building housing the main hall or ‘sala’. Each module has a level ceiling with wooden beams - these originally served as stalls for animals, separate from the main body. Thick walls and small windows ensure the interiors stay cool in summer and warm in winter. The whiteness of the walls also plays a role in keeping the building cool by reflecting the sunlight. High ceilings reinforced with beams of sabina wood and the absence of decorative elements, opting for a more sober and functional architecture, complete the accent features of the White Isle country house.”

Just as succinct as the pared-back farmhouse architecture, the Ibicenco interior style seeks to create a simple, relaxed environment, similar to the lifestyle on the island – luminous, fresh and informal. Three main influences drive that Ibizan style; first, the Moroccans (Los Moros), who ruled the island for 330 years; their culture, design and tradition has continued to pepper many elements of modern-day Ibizan life, adding charm and depth to the history of many parts of the island.

Secondly, hippies have cultivated a noteworthy style footprint since the 60s - spending their winters in India and summers in Ibiza selling their Indian finds at markets; cushions, fabrics, lamps, jewellery and furniture. Later, Bali, Indonesia and Thailand were added to the regular winter destinations. Wider Asian artefacts joined the Indian ones and have since become ‘must have’ pieces in Ibizan interior design. The third influence is minimalism. Designs centred around glass and concrete on the floor and walls create a cooler and inviting environment.

“Ibiza invites distinct and discerning tastes, striving for eclectic designs, all the while mixing these styles with a multitude of permutations,” adds interior designer Erica Dreyfuss. “Putting a beautiful hand-made piece in a minimalist setting creates a warm and welcoming space. This broad ethnic component is more present in Ibiza than in any other place in the world. Sun drenched locations like Cancun, Miami or Palm Springs pale in comparison; only Ibiza welcomes such a cornucopia of African, Asian and Indian artistic references into their design motif.”

The shabby chic look, where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear, is another popular style trend on the island. At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with an affected feel, is emphasised to differentiate it from the genuine period decor. After the trend of glitter skull designs, faded, bright oversized plasticware is currently in vogue, adding a playful note.

Ibizan interior design company, Ksar founded by Alberto Cortes in 2003, specialises in the design and set-up of luxury villas, boutique hotels, restaurants and resorts. The Ksar concept encompasses the local style of interior design and architecture, merging it with creative style elements from around the world. One of their projects, Cala Moli, is the perfect example of modern Ibicenco design.

The property is the result of a large-scale restoration and interior design project in collaboration with Laura Cavalca and Mauro Agosti Architects. Inspired by the house’s spectacular sea vistas, the brief for the project was to create an eclectic, modern Mediterranean home that felt luxurious yet liveable. KsaR Living took care of the project management, giving the homeowners complete peace of mind throughout the entire renovation process. Working with designers, architects and constructors, each element of the project was meticulously managed for efficiency and monitored to ensure the highest possible standards, impeccable finishes and materials plus exceptional craftsmanship.

The interiors fuse authentic Ibiza style with contemporary touches and one-off designer pieces. Spacious and stylish, filled with natural light, each space has its own character through the use of statement décor and furniture, such as reclaimed wooden doors, filigree tilework and carefully selected photography and art. The colour palette is reflective of the Balearic backdrop outside – crisp whites, calming pale wood and stone, and pops of vibrant blue. Stepping inside at Cala Moli feels like the start of a truly relaxing and memorable holiday.

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