A penthouse for Nora
This project involved the complete refurbishment of a late 70s penthouse apartment in the Benimaclet neighbourhood of Valencia. Our clients, Ángels and Josep Maria, shared with us their excitement over starting a new chapter in Valencia, along with the need to remodel the space accordingly. The penthouse in question belonged to Angels' grandparents, making it the repository of endless childhood memories and meaning that any potential change would need to tread sensitively. A few months into the project came news of baby Nora's impending arrival, which naturally conditioned the entire process of design and implementation, as she became central to every decision.
Whenever we start a new domestic project, we ask our clients to reflect on the way they like to live: their daily and weekly habits, the way they move around their home, the types of interior spaces and situations that make them feel good, the ways they hope to use their home, the activities they like to do there and so on. On the basis of all this information, we draw up designs which attempt to respond to all these needs and wishes, to create a home that is as personal and unique as possible.
The work we carried out was based on five fundamental premises:
_ Eliminating any sense of hierarchy between rooms, creating evenly sized and generally multifunctional spaces, and accommodating our clients' day-to-day dynamic throughout (i.e., taking into account their preferences with regard to working, eating, resting and free time in the span of the day). The kitchen occupies a central place in the design and is open to the living and dining area, as well as to the roof terrace and one of the multipurpose rooms.
_ Maximising flow around the property via multiple connections between rooms, promoting versatility of use. Curved geometries enhance fluidity of movement around the apartment, with sliding partitions or at least two doors providing access to each room.
_ Overlapping lines of sight between the different rooms, generating connected and expanded spaces. The use of interior windows creates visual pathways that join different rooms; for example, the visual junction connecting one of the bedrooms with the kitchen and the living room, through the bathroom and the building's light well.
_ Making the most of natural light and ventilation. The layout ensures that all rooms benefit from natural light and cross ventilation. Multiple connections between rooms facilitate air flow throughout the home whilst ensuring that natural light enters from all angles, providing a range of tonalities and intensities of illumination.
_ Conserving pre-existing elements of the apartment. As the apartment had previously been home to the client's grandparents, its original decorative features held a strong emotional charge which we sought to retain, whilst recontextualising them in the new layout. Some would remain in their original location (such as the cupboard adjoining the terrace and the woodwork in the entrance); others, however, were reused or reworked to give rise to new elements. This is the case with the textured yellow glass which has been rehoused in a new partition between the kitchen and living area, and other panes that were conserved in the window of the entrance hall.
The false ceiling is used as a compositional element, in addition to housing air conditioning, lighting and the guide rails for the sliding partitions. Its geometric configuration results in lower ceilings in service spaces and transit areas, whilst greater height is allocated to the rest of the rooms via the use of curved geometries which interplay with the vertical partitions, fixed furnishings and some of the decorative elements.
The choice of materials was guided by Àngels and Josep Maria's preferences for light colours, natural wood and clean joins, both at the level of the carpentry and in the project as a whole. The finished apartment has a floor area of 125 square metres, and a roof terrace comprising a further 21 square metres.
Once home to Àngels' grandparents, this space is now ready to welcome the family’s most recent generation, having been adapted and reinvented in step with the evolution of its inhabitants.