We love to read the marks of previous occupants in the houses we inhabit, and this somewhat morbid curiosity shaped the idea that a building is kind of a time capsule that contains stories, memories, also information. And to act on it, rehabiting or refurbishing, it is necessary to open that capsule, with the risk of breaking it.
In Pontejos 9, we carefully scratched a wall or picked up a carpet; then we would stop and look under it. We can not explain exactly why some things interested us more than others; many of the presences that we found in the building were vulgar and we could not say that the ancient object in itself was too impressive at first. Its symbolic content was not enough either, it was just another block of housing from the beginnigs of twentieth century, one of many that the industrial bourgeoisie built to accommodate the growing citizenship of Madrid. Definitely , it was out of our culture.
But the persistence of a door knob, the kitschy vinyl of a window, or the worn-out tile in an obsolete bathroom moved us by invoking ancient actions without inheritance, forgotten techniques, and technological gaps provoked by progress. After the crisis, the centre of Madrid has fallen under the knive of real state butchers that throw away with textures that lasted 110 years and substitute them with vinyl plastic surfaces guaranteed for the next 10 years. We definitely don’t want to do that.
We decided not to disrupt with modern prejudicies the flow of this journey in time and we prescribed to reset his comfort level, chiropractise his tired skeleton, to reinvent symmetries and axes that never were, and to reconcile us with the wrinkles by adding some sexy complements according with the contemporary. Almost inadvertently we have added a couple of fancy new layers, probably neither more nor less authentic than the ones that already had.
Now we close the capsule again to let it continue its course, proud simply to have preserved that captive quality that we found inside the first day, in those objects, actions and knowledge that had crossed the time without being erased.