Located in the district of Eixample, in Barcelona, this project evokes “a summer night, at the sea, under the moon,” as interior designer Szymon Keller describes. Created for a couple in their 30s – who moved from Russia to Spain a few years ago, and are also at the helm of a vegan restaurant – the 60-square metre apartment is nestled in an 19th-century building. With its sloped floors, crooked walls, deteriorated ceiling and small rooms that lacked natural light, the space needed a complete makeover.
“The challenge was to resurrect this apartment, transforming it into a fresh and bold place, reflecting the owners themselves,” says Keller. “Before planning the redistribution, it was necessary to reinforce the floor slab and roof, mounting new beams and realigning the walls, as well as installing new windows.” Once done, the interior designer focused on creating areas that flow together.
The main open space comprises the living room, kitchen and dining room, while the bathroom acts as both the centrepiece and a transitional area leading to the bedroom at the back of the apartment. “It is a place that sets a middle ground between the public day activities and the more intimate activities in the daily life of the owners,” says Keller. Contained between two arches that mark its symmetry, the bathroom is adorned with bluish green ceramic and a large copper bathtub, and feels like a spa filled with natural light, thanks to the sliding doors in textured glass. In the apartment, the only enclosed space consists of the shower and toilet.
In every nook, warm colours and natural materials refer to the Mediterranean and its magic light. All the walls, including the Catalan vaulted ceilings, are clad in sandy stucco, while the terrazzo floor is made of small stones. Keller installed an off-white oak parquet carpet in the living room and bedroom to add a sense of warmth. Lacquer (such as that on the wardrobe doors in the dressing room), marble and linen, among other materials, bring in even more textures. Every element reflects a nostalgia for summer through a conceptual interpretation. “This project was born as a dream’s vision, an ephemeral memory transformed into a timeless experience,” says Keller.
Giving the feeling of a hotel suite, the apartment features curved shapes and organic silhouettes throughout. The interior designer was inspired by the small waves of the sea, reinterpreting them into “a stream of refined modernity by applying noble and natural finishes,” he explains.
Several pieces were designed by Keller, including the Sunburst sconce in resin, neon and iron. “This lamp celebrates the symbolic prominence of the sun and the dual relationship between light and darkness,” says the designer. “It captures the ephemeral moment that is a sunset. It is the result of artisanal and experimental work, with different levels of transparencies and shades of amber.” Made of compressed paper, fibreglass, resin and white cement, the console and coffee table are both part of the Ruins series, designed and manufactured by Keller. “It is a conceptual work based on a dialogue between construction and deconstruction,” he says. “They are forms with nostalgia for the deterioration and decay of architectural and natural elements, pieces that blur the limit between human footprints and nature.”
Vintage bedside lamps from the ’70s, artworks by Paul Bik and Albert Madaula, chairs from Fest Amsterdam, the Daphine floor lamp from Lumina and the Basket pendant lamp from Santa & Cole complement the calm and unexpected atmosphere, which is shaped to provide a visual and tactile experience. “The general idea of the concept was to conceive a balance between the warm feeling of the Mediterranean and a unique and daring contemporary design,” concludes Keller.
Photography by Marina Denisova