Laia and Biel’s Home
Value the small, the tiny, the almost imperceptible. Observe and attend to architecture closely, from very close. Pursue and be persecuted for the last detail, with no option to stop before. To reach, in certain case, to the aggregate with which the joint between two tiles will be executed, to make the project depend on it, and to know that the project depends on it.
The intervention consists of the interior refurbishment of an old flat located in the Gracia district of Barcelona. It is a passing apartment, with one façade on the street and the other on the inside of the block. The apartment is made up of three bays, two of which have a façade and the central one is completely interior.
The project concentrates its efforts on a single strategy, consisting of opening the flat longitudinally. The whole project is condensed in a single gesture that manages to visually connect the street and the interior courtyard, bringing both opposite and, until now, distant façades closer together. A single element is at the heart of this strategy. A new wardrobe crosses the entire house from one end to the other. This new element organizes the space and physically and visually connects the entire floor from one end to the other. As a new and autonomous element, it is introduced into the house of Laia and Biel almost as a sculpture, independent and exempt from the perimeter that contains it. It is executed with a noble and warm material, that is voluntarily different from the white that characterizes the space that contains it.
The new pavement is organized as a carpet to support this new wardrobe. The history of this pavement has a memory, accepts its pre-existing conditions and proposes to transform them. The history of the new pavement could be understood as a palimpsest. There was, in a previous state, a pavement of 13x13cm clay tiles placed diagonally. Its condition was not very good, it was partially modified, there were many patches and different types of tiles, the result of overlapping alterations and modifications. We decided to replace the pavement with a new one. We opted for a hydraulic pavement, since the owner is dedicated to the manufacture this kind of tiles. The new pavement has the same size, 13x13cm, like the existing one and is also laid diagonally. Its entire perimeter is taped, room by room, with special edge pieces that provide a good finish to the perimeter of the flooring. Special pieces are also made to obtain a longitudinal carpet to support the new wardrobe. But a tile floor is not just a tile floor, it's a tile floor and the joint between them. And here the old clay tiles come back into play. The existing tiles are cleaned and crushed to obtain an aggregate of about 5-8mm. This aggregate is used to make the joint between the new tiles. The joint is quite wide, 1cm thick, and is made with white mortar grout and reddish aggregate obtained from the clay tiles. The size of the crushed aggregate is suitable for the size of the joint. Afterwards everything is polished, tile and join.
Thus, the intervention, from its most general lines to the most concrete details, is able to read and understand the place where it takes place, it is able to transform and manipulate it, in order to improve it and bring it further.