|Project Name||Casa H71||Posted in||Residential, Design, Interior Design||Location||
|Architecture Practice||Lucas y Hernández-Gil||Client||Private|
Who would want to live in a museum? Why would one want to live in a museum? If you find a home within art, does that automatically mean you can live comfortably there? These are the questions that Casa H71, Lucas y Hernández-Gil’s artful Madrid creation, answers.
One of the most fascinating things about museums is that originally they were literally meant to be houses for the muses. Well, more like occasional pieds-à-terre. They were the structures where people would invite the muses for their worship. This means that museums are meant to house inspiration, and this is by no means a meaning which is lost in present everyday reality. Though their distinguishing character as houses is slightly better concealed, it is still evident in their unique ability to reorder space and flow according to an exhibition’s requirements. Each exhibition inhabits a museum as if it were its private residence through time. It accomplishes this by restructuring the museum’s space into the different courses taking visitors through the different exhibitions, through the new spaces created by the ordering of artwork. This is why it is always a pleasure to walk around a familiar museum and to be able to escape the courses that have become habitual to one. In a sense, a museum remains a house through equally its ability to be familiar, as well as its ability to avail itself of previously established interpretations and expectations.
In Madrid’s Barrio de las Letras, in about 200 square meters of space originally designed in the 1950s by Spanish architect Luis Gutiérrez Soto, the architecture firm Lucas y Hernández-Gil managed to reverse engineer this feeling into a luxury abode designed much like a museum. The four bedroom apartment between the neighbourhood whose name translates as the neighbourhood of letters and the Prado complex is visually striking, thanks in part to the initial visual stimulus of the exposed concrete structure, a nod to the building’s fame as one of Madrid’s first residential buildings to feature it. The concrete also goes to highlight the sense of a space layered in colours and objects. One’s gaze bounces from the warm tones of the oak flooring, to the bright white walls that let the artwork dominate, and to the colour bursting throughout the apartment from the designer furniture, without overshadowing their understated functionality.
The apartment, which was fully rethought to convert its compartmentalized design into an open space, features such exclusive pieces as Le Corbusier’s LC7 swivel chairs from Cassina; Mendes da Rocha’s sleek leather-and-chrome Paulistano armchair; and lighting designs by FLOS, whose playful AIM brightens the kitchen’s island with the teal chairs. Lucas y Hernández-Gil also added artwork by Iribarren, Chaim and Canina to the owners’ existing art collection, which was the starting point for the redesign: “This project was a big challenge for our firm, as we were looking for a space with a concept halfway between a house and an art gallery for the owner’s art collection, without losing the scale of the domestic space”, note the architects, whose mission was successfully accomplished. While at times an art gallery can be closed to the public, or devoid of artwork, Casa H71 is instead configured to evoke its opening night liveliness and its between projects creative transformation, all the while highlighting its qualities as a living space. Thus it becomes an art gallery exhibiting the exciting creativity and meaningful domesticity of that great permanent collection –the home.