can bordoy – grand house & garden, is a small 24 room hotel with a magnificent garden, swimming pool, spa and panoramic terrace, located in la lonja neighborhood, at the heart of the historic center of palma de mallorca, spain. the hotel saw the renovation of a 500 year old abandoned building, and architecture and interior design office ohlab completely altered all 2,500 m2 of it. can bordoy was envisioned and developed by businessman mikael hall and his family, turning it into the ultimate relaxing destination.
all images © jose hevia
the architects of ohlab, paloma hernaiz and jaime oliver, decided to engage with the property’s existing garden, which contains a rich and antique variety of vegetation. so, they decided to open the doors of the garden to the city, a pleasant surprise for neighbors and passersby alike. opening the garden to the city gives it visibility from the entrance courtyard and from the street, connecting the city to the boutique hotel.
the proposed program is intended to evoke the experience of visiting a house more than a hotel. therefore, rather than being at a hotel reception, the guests meet at the entrance hall of the house; instead of a restaurant guests find a residential dining room, the rooms and living rooms are like those you would find in an old house, and so on. the project carefully preserves the romantic and decadent atmosphere found in the building and is deliberately contrasted with interventions and elements from different epochs.
ohlab respectfully intervened the historical house, maintaining the traces of the past and yet adding a contemporary and elegant touch. the designers were inspired by the principles of the traditional japanese technique of kintsugi – the art of repairing broken antique porcelain with a precious material, such as gold dust, and thus obtaining a repaired piece that celebrates the break and makes it even more valuable. the architects have sought a project that does not pretend to hide the eclecticism of the existing building, but instead conciliates and celebrates the different layers of history and highlights the new interventions that give the house its new function.
a series of architectural strategies were designed and developed throughout the building as a collection of distinctive contemporary interventions in dialogue with the existing building. large velvet curtains disguise the new bathrooms in the rooms creating a scenography where the bathroom happens to be the new set; instead of hiding this new element, its use is celebrated. on the ground floor a green corridor of vegetation invades the dining rooms connecting the garden with the courtyard and the street. in the main staircase, the skylight is flooded with water becoming a small pool with a transparent bottom that creates a play of light through the water, flooding the staircase with caustic reflections.
the furniture is also a key feature of the dialogue between the old and the new. the eclecticism of the architecture is reflected in the selection of furniture with pieces from different eras and origins. antique pieces coexist with carefully selected contemporary furniture, and with bespoke furniture designed by ohlab specifically for can bordoy. among the bespoke furniture designed by ohlab, a collection of beds and bars for all rooms stand out.
classic antique paintings from the xvii to the xix century from the owner’s private collection hang throughout the house combined with a more contemporary collection. in the new additions, created by the artist pedro oliver ad-hoc for can bordoy, the artist plays with personal and determined strokes superimposed on classic patterns reminiscent of the history of the house.
lastly, on the building foundations guests are welcome into the spa experience. surrounded by original stone walls from the xii century, brutalist structural reinforcements of exposed concrete, and delicate natural stone finishes, a journey of water sensations begins at different temperatures following the millenary mediterranean bathing culture. the luxe amenities paired with the eclectic design that dialogues between the historical house and its new function, make the hotel an architectural masterpiece and an ideal mediterranean getaway.
architecture firm: ohlab
head archtiects: paloma hernaiz and jaime oliver
project name: can bordoy – grand house & garden
location: palma de mallorca, mallorca, spain
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edited by: cristina gomez | designboom
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