Es Pou de Can Marianet Barber, or simply Es Pou for short, is located in a rural region on the island of Formentera in Spain. From afar, the bright-white structure is almost jarring in its blunt contrast to the agricultural landscape. Yet this home is not as stark as the exterior implies. The light-filled interior is composed of organic and regional materials, allowing the home to honour the artisan history of the island. The unique blend of materials, colours, and styles allow Es Pou a timeless quality; it is a contemporary home that is truly inspired by the past.
Es Pou is designed by Spanish architecture studio Marià Castelló. The structure comprises three volumes, each housing a function of the home. The volumes are organised from north to south, with the southernmost piece holding a terrace which takes advantage of the lovely island sunshine. The middle structures hold the main living areas, and the bedrooms site on the north side of the home.
The separation of these three cubes is as much a stylish choice as it is functional: the spaces in between each provide air flow and introduce natural lighting in unexpected ways. In a particularly elegant design moment, a decorative pattern is cut into the tile, providing ventilation and facade detail. At certain times of day, the pattern casts a stunning shadow across the interior breezeway.
The rural and agricultural nature of the area inspired the colour palette for the interior of the home. While the clean, bright white on the exterior contrasts starkly with the dusty browns and reds of the landscape, the interior is warm and richly coloured. Muted red tile covers most of the floors, and the ceilings, trim, and cabinetry are fashioned of natural light-coloured wood. In the bathrooms, a lush green-coloured tile climbs up the walls, calling to mind the almond trees that can be viewed from the home’s veranda. White walls and floor-to-ceiling windows brighten the entire interior.
Built-in shelving and storage units abound in the interior design of Es Pou. Wooden shelves stand out against the white walls, providing the perfect landing place for a curated selection of art and decorative objects. The open-concept wardrobes are fully built-in and allow the residents’ clothing to be displayed much like the artwork in the rest of the home. In the living room, a fireplace is housed in a monolithic cabinet alongside display nooks. The quantity of built-in and recessed storage spaces give a clean look to the design and limit extraneous furnishings.
The mix of materials, colours, and decor lend the dwelling an almost vintage quality. Es Pou is undoubtedly modern, yet there is something in the design that reaches back, calling to mind designs of the past, while refusing to commit to any single style. The ceramic tile used throughout is an especially important aspect of the design: the tile honours the artisan history of Spanish ceramics. Antique furnishings contribute to the blend of design styles in the interior. The overall result is a dwelling that is timeless: grounded in history but designed with a thoroughly contemporary lens.