Catalan painter Adalina Coromines, designer Joan Lao, and their daughter, designer Africa Lao were looking for a special place where there they could connect with nature and live and work sustainably. After five years of looking around the world for the perfect spot, they found a 17th-century Catalan farmhouse not too far from Barcelona, which had just the right personality.
"Our project is based on the idea of creating a unique space for living, art, painting, design, meetings, and presentations in one place," says Joan Lao.
Set upon a 62-acre farm fringed by native cork oaks, holm oaks, chestnut, and walnut trees, the 2,625-square-foot building now serves as a painting studio for Coromines, and a creative studio for Joan and Africa.
Working together, the family revitalized the farmhouse with a floor plan that includes reception spaces, meeting rooms, art and design exhibition galleries, experimental rooms, living spaces, and areas that can be set up for photography shoots.
The renovation restored many of the original building materials—including the natural stone and clay walls and floors, and the untreated wood trunk beams. Sections of the walls are now plastered with mortar.
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The concept for the redesign began with the desire to make the most of the original structural elements, materials, and textures of the old farmhouse. The project also sought to incorporate modern comforts and technology to create an optimum environment for creating and showcasing the work of the painter and designers. "It was almost a work of archeology," says Joan Lao.
Joan and Africa Lao were responsible for the conceptualization of the interiors and the choice of textures and patinas. Coromines was responsible for the color scheme and the artwork that hangs on the walls. Joan Lao Design Studio created most of the furniture and home accessories.
Solar panels, a wooden boiler heating system, and water sourced from an old well in the basement result in a building that is both eco friendly and self sustaining.
"The project has been carried out at all times in a holistic manner, taking into account all the elements involved, the concept, the environment, the architecture, the interior design, the aesthetics, the ecology, sustainability, and energy consumption," says Joan Lao.
"The house has been built with totally ecological techniques and materials. For us, respect for nature, physical, mental, and emotional health is very important, we even organically cultivate most of our food," says Africa Lao.
Wood Coating: Livewood Collection by Joan Lao Design Studio for MH Parquets
Furniture: Joan Lao Design Studio for Alternative
Lighting: Hidden Light Collection by Joan Lao Design Studio for Fambuena
Kitchen and Bathroom Furniture: Allstone Collection by Joan Lao Design Studio
Pictorial Coatings: Graphenstone
Carpets: Collection Natural Textures by Joan Lao Design Studio for Barcelona Rugs
Curtains: Cortinas Llado
Mechanism Lighting: Jung
Photography: Eugeni Pons
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