Integration into the environment and the key role of light give
rise to a creative process that ends up becoming a dream, a home,
turned into a reality. Sotogrande Magazine sat down with one
of the great icons of international architecture with Sotogrande
and the influence of golf as one of the great particularities of his
renowned architecture as a resort.
- Firstly, it is a real pleasure to once again enjoy time talking to you. It is always enriching and of course, one leaves a lot wiser than when one arrived. I would like to begin by asking you about how you have experienced recent times, which have been so turbulent, and how clients have changed and evolved, in terms of architecture, since the pandemic.
Perhaps I have experienced it like most people, with certain times of uncertainty although also with optimism and responsibility. We have witnessed a major shift in everything around us, a repositioning in our values and priorities where we have suffered the loss of loved ones. A period that we had not experienced in recent history. On the other hand, it has also evolved and resulted in quite a few changes in terms of work. There are two points that I would highlight: the acceleration in the digitalisation of our life and the rethinking of priorities. Both aspects have influenced the type of architecture that the people of today want, how they experience spaces, what their lifestyle is like and what the most important aspects are for them.
- Are needs different?
The needs of the people who ultimately choose to live in Sotogrande are clearly influenced by the political and social scene of the time. They want more technological, sustainable properties, that respect the environment and with options for sharing with family and friends. The revolution of teleworking has also played a crucial role in this transition of new priority aspects. Spaces are more dynamic and multifunctional. People seek architecture with a lot of design and that alongside that is a safe investment asset for the future.
- Have destinations changed? The population growth and investment in Sotogrande have grown exponentially…
We know that the population has grown over the last 20-25 years in the resort, but in the last 3 years, especially, Sotogrande “has put itself on the map” so to say, to use a popular phrase. At the ARK studio it has become normal for us to send information about Sotogrande to clients each week. On the global scene, there are few places like Sotogrande, therefore it is essential to look after the lifestyle, its values and what kinds of promotional actions are carried out in every regard.
- Exclusivity and originality are the most valued concepts in the luxury and high-end sector. How do you look after all those details? How do you find and look for the perfect and ideal material for every project and every space?
We are passionate about architecture and our projects. Therefore, the attitude is one of ongoing improvement, the pursuit of excellence; we are never really happy and we want to improve in every project we carry out. This attitude is very inspiring and shared by the entire team at ARK. I especially am a non-conformist and I try to spread that spirit of wanting to improve; it is something that the entire team feels very proud of. This also means constantly evolving, going on lots of trips, looking for new solutions, materials and pathways to tackle challenges. In order to find that path it is necessary to get out of your comfort zone. That is the attitude my team has and therefore we are constantly visiting fairs, museums, quarries, factories, etc.
“A project, must understand the language of the area, the culture, nature and create a symbiosis with the place. I always look for the feeling of “Living in Nature”
- Does a residential project have to adapt to its environment or the other way round?
A project, located in the areas we are talking about, must seem that it has always been there. It must understand the language of the area, the culture, nature and create a symbiosis with the place. I always look for the feeling of “Living in Nature”.
- I understand that entails a thorough study of the context, light, space, natural environment…
Creating a comparison with haute gastronomy, at our fingertips we have a multitude of ingredients that we have to blend to achieve the perfect recipe, the masterly dish. I spend long periods of time devoted to the in-depth study of our projects before starting them, in order to perfectly understand the place, its environment and its ideal context.
- Should the interior and exterior design be fully connected?
You cannot blur, they need to be fully connect because our current lifestyle is like that. We have a relationship model with properties where spaces are multi-purpose and where, above all, the day areas are connected in order to move interchangeably between them. One of the essences of our projects is that the outer skin of the building often comes into the inner areas creating a connection with the patios.
- We are in October and this is the most international month par excellence for golf in Sotogrande. Does a golf context have a major influence when it comes to a “premium” residential project?
Golf creates a unique setting, it frames designed natural spaces and of course they have to be taken into account. When golf is present it is another ingredient in the end recipe. As an architect the golf space is a great inspiration that creates calm and makes it possible to frame images that look like real photographs.
“A project linked to golf […] would be a very interesting adventure to go on from a creative point of view”
- A large part of the major projects, in both Sotogrande and other grand luxe resorts, revolve around a golf course. How should that symbiosis be with the environment?
It is interesting not to lose sight of the fact that we are talking about living and organic places, that are constantly evolving and that are also used by people. Thus, taking all of these aspects into account; we need to find the perfect project that makes it possible to integrate the property, the tree species of our garden and play with the spaces that are going to be framed.
- Before ending, let me ask you two quick questions and indeed linked to your life in Sotogrande and golf. Would you like to participate in a project linked to golf in the area?
As someone who loves Golf and Sotogrande it would be a big dream and a great opportunity. A project linked to golf that emerges out of an analysis of the entire experience from the time there is contact with the golf course. It would be a very interesting adventure to go on from a creative point of view.
- What course would you have liked to create as a designer?
I am clear about this: Real Club Valderrama.