Formentera is located 6 kilometres south of Ibiza. After finishing your studies in Barcelona, you returned to the island and opened your office in 2002. What does Formentera mean for you? How do you approach your professional activity in the context of the island?
For me, Formentera is equilibrium, austerity, simplicity, luminosity, self-sufficiency, beauty… but also vulnerability, fragility, speculation, decontextualisation… Formentera is undergoing notable urban development, characterised by a great deal of construction of scant architectural quality, contrasting with the exceptional value of the natural and traditional architectural substrate.
In my work, I endeavour to draw on the respect for and commitment to the island’s culture, landscape and territory, and with 14 years of professional experience under my belt, I can identify a number of relations which link our studio to this place. Firstly, scale. Ours is a small studio, with a reduced volume of projects that address the reality of which they form part. Secondly, the artisanal nature. What I find attractive in the traditional island culture is the authenticity, imperfection and naturalness given off by objects and popular architecture, linked to an artisanal process. Thirdly, self-sufficiency and a multidisciplinary approach. Before the onset of tourism, Formentera was a paradigmatic example of balance with the environment, self-sufficiency and a certain degree of independence. Isolation, the reduced size of the territory and the setting of social and cultural fusion, have steered us away from specialising and led us to develop different types of projects.
In Formentera, we have traditionally opted for a model of low-density, disperse occupation, and in this context, the isolated single-family home has been the most common programme we have had to address. In the research phase, interventions on heritage elements have been highly interesting, and in some cases have helped to improve our knowledge of how Formentera was anthropised. We have also collaborated in a number of editorial and exhibition projects with the aim of disseminating both the island’s heritage and those contemporary actions generated with judgement and reflection.