The chance to work with a building in a medieval town doesn’t come around every day.
So when the Barcelona-based architecture firm EL EQUIPO CREATIVO was given the opportunity to work on the Kimpton Vividora Hotel at the Gothic Centre – the oldest parts of Barcelona dating back to the 14th century – they conjured up a space that can “ bring the city and the neighbourhood naturally into the project”, says Natali Canas del Pozo, partner and creative director of the firm.
The client brief was simple: to create a hotel with a local approach, handcrafted and custom-designed with unique spaces that reflect Barcelona’s lifestyle and architecture. Scroll through the gallery below (Photography: Adrià Goula | One Represent Agency) to experience the immersive design: With this in mind, the firm curated the bar area on the ground floor by taking as its inspiration the medieval charm of the Gothic Quarter, the city’s historical epicentre marked by remnants of Roman walls, Gothic churches and meandering cobblestone streets. “The Gothic Quarter and its street atmosphere became one of the main inspirations for the design, where little narrow streets lead you to unexpected plazas, patios and entrances to residential buildings,” Pozo explains. “Stone, greenery and water are the essential ingredients of these fresh oases in the city, and we decided to introduce these same ingredients in the design of the bar.” Visitors are welcomed by the bar area upon entering the hotel, which is dotted with sizable plantings as emblematic of the Catalonia nature; the marble bar table and the suspended lamps by Vibia over the bar table contribute to the vibe of understated opulence. The lounge area, which takes up most of the ground floor, boasts a sophisticated yet playful scheme of emerald green and blush pink with hints of brass, finished in reddish wood on the walls with geometric appeal to match the curvy lounge chairs. A group of furniture in bold hues from Sancal, De Padova and Gubi, along with bespoke carpeting by Nani Marquina, bring extra personality to the room. Locally-produced tiles play off modern details such as Vibia pendant lamps and Nani Marquina rugs on the ground floor of the hotel. “With a long façade facing the street, the space of the bar should be part of the city and the neighbourhood,” says the architect. Which is why tiles at the property – a key design feature of the hotel – are produced by local suppliers to lend the interior a domestic touch, among them Fabrica de Rajoles de Tous, Cevica and Peronda. Green tiles in geometric patterns connect the bar area on the ground floor with the hotel lobby on the mezzanine level, where three marble slabs, mirroring Gothic stone fountains, serve as reception desks. A cascade of pendant lights by Gallotti & Radice descending from the double-height ceilings jazzes up both the reception and lounge areas. Upstairs, the Fauna restaurant takes design cues from traditional Barcelona houses – from tile flooring to hand-painted ceiling informed by local patterns. To honour local history, the firm fashioned the entrance space of the restaurant – where the breakfast buffet bar is located – with elegant blue-and-white tiles depicting scenes of Barcelona’s bygone days. The wall tiles, hand-painted by local artisans on site, are used to break up the buffet bar and the dining areas while adding pizzazz to the space. “One of the most appreciated areas of the Barcelona houses is their typical galleries – cosy spaces full of plants between the interior and the exterior,” notes Pozo. “We designed a gallery-like space, introducing glazed dividing elements which helped us create more private areas next to the facade, eventually used for events or meetings.” References of the Catalan capital also extend to the hotel rooms, where the earthly-hued headboard in warm terracotta makes a delightful contrast to the colder cobalt-hued ceramic tiles that are reminiscent of the deep blue Mediterranean Sea water. The two colours, the firm believes, can best characterize the essence of the city. “Carefully selected pieces of furniture, with an emphasis on local brands and desigers, give Vividora a casual, inviting atmosphere with a local flair.”