A contrast of white and wood tones
Raul Garcia Studio
With its intense white colour punctuated by a sequence of stone inserts framing the sliding glass doors, windows and garage door in keeping with the local building tradition, Casa Velo stands out clearly from the mundane architecture surrounding the centre of Siete Aguas, a farming village situated at an altitude of 700 metres in the rugged hills above Valencia. The village is renowned for its natural springs and in the springtime comes alive with almond and cherry blossom. Designed by Raul Garcia, a young Spanish architect who trained under such luminaries as Álvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Manuel Aires Mateus, Carlos Ferrater and Fran Silvestre, the building consists of an L-shaped combination of two volumes with pure, square lines animated by terraces, patios and cantilevers. The simple, easily discernible floor plan features rational distribution routes extending over two floors connected by a vaguely industrial-style aerial staircase set away slightly from the wall. The ground floor houses the living area with the large lounge and open kitchen, while the first floor is used for the bedrooms with their respective bathrooms. The rooms are rigorous, symmetrical and expansive in their design.
As on the façade, the colour white dominates the interior, and is echoed on the chairs and the kitchen island, the beds and the bathroom fittings. A metaphor for neo-rationalist purism, it pays tribute to the architectural essentiality that informs the design language embraced by Garcia and his practice. But as if to counterbalance the impact of the intense white elements, the architect chose ceramic floors with a warm wood effect for all the rooms and for the exterior paving that extends around the house like a frame. Garcia comments: « My mission and that of my firm is to create spaces that improve people’s lives. We believe that people need to surround themselves with high-quality architecture in terms of both aesthetics and function in order to perform better at work and to fully enjoy the time they spend at home. With this in mind, it was natural for us to choose Marazzi’s Treverktrend slabs in a 25×150 cm plank format and Honey Oak shade. With their imperfect grain and hyper-realistic effects, they convey the same sense of warmth as wood and contrast dramatically with the bright white of the walls and ceilings. Porcelain stoneware also offers significant advantages such as strength, durability and low maintenance. As an architect, I obviously don’t just look at the technical performance of the material or its price but also its versatility, which in this case allows it to be used in all the rooms in the home and, thanks to the non-slip surfaces available as part of the collection, even in outdoor spaces, creating a seamless visual connection between the interior and exterior. » This sense of continuity has the additional benefit of linking the architecture to the landscape, making the building a kind of natural feature which emerges from its surroundings without overpowering them but instead adding meaning. And thanks to the large windows, the landscape becomes an important, living element of the interior design. The north-facing views of the valley are like beautiful paintings that are a pleasure to admire in the company of family and friends.
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