There are architects who have shaped certain places in such singular and profound ways — Luis Barragán and Mexico City, Albert Frey and Palm Springs — that it’s hard to think about one without the other. Increasingly, the same is true of Antoni Esteva and Majorca, situated some 130 miles from the Spanish mainland in the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean. Over the past five decades, Esteva, who was born on the island, has dreamed up or transformed dozens of its buildings, from the local artist Miquel Barceló’s home and atelier — that integrates a 13th-century lookout tower — to the reimagined 18th-century farmhouse that holds the cultish country hotel Son Gener. In 2010, he embarked on a recovery of the artist Joan Miró’s home in Palma, Majorca’s capital, reorienting the chambers in order to redirect the gaze into the garden. If there is a common thread running through his job, it’s his fondness for employing natural materials and the resulting structures ’ inclination to complement, and sometimes even disappear to, the landscape.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that, having grown up among these spaces that are considered, not to mention that of the own Antoni Esteva-designed and art-filled family home near the medieval town of Son Servera, the architect’s two kids are also aesthetically inclined and respected talents in their own right. Tomeu Esteva, 48, studied architecture at London Metropolitan University and, in 2000, based the Palma-based company Esteva I Esteva with his father — “he’d always worked alone, but now we do certain projects together,” Tomeu says. Since then, the pair have taken their collective vision to northern India, to Portugal and to Los Angeles’s Mulholland Drive, where they will complete a private home with a facade of stucco painted the same shade of ecru as the surrounding earth, and a 30-foot-long living room with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors on either side. “ we attempt to create balance with every tool we’ve ,” states Tomeu, “with light, proportions and materials. ”
Rosa Esteva, 46, studied art and style in Barcelona, where she’ therefore based, and based Cortana, her line of sophisticated staples, such as columnar dresses of silk georgette and fitted linen-and-wool-blend pants with silk-lined pockets, 20 years back. I like to produce garments that enhance the person but without eclipsing their personality, that are actually a continuation of the wearers self, she says of the tag, which she sells from 3 boutiques, all designed by Esteva I Esteva, including one in Palmas historical center, as well as online. Certainly, she kissed her father’s preference for subtlety and earthy fabrics, but her work also reflects an awareness of colour and form gleaned from her and Tomeu’s mum, Catín Cañellas, who worked for several years as a gentleman and frequently let Rosa make little bouquets with leftover blooms. At exactly the exact same time, the Esteva siblings have always had their own opinions about all things style. “And we speak up. We did and still do have big discussions, and theres no mincing words none of us are very diplomatic, Tomeu says with a laugh.
1 frequent topic of debate these past couple of years has been Es Racó d’Artà, Antoni’s latest venture — a new 34-room wellness retreat situated on an early finca (estate) near the little town of Artà, on the eastern part of the island. Hed long known of this property, formerly owned by a local family for generations, and was in awe of its beauty: Nestled within a valley, it is nearly 500 acres surrounded a crumbling 18th-century stone farmhouse with several outbuildings, as well as olive groves and dozens of areas. About a decade ago, when he heard a rumor that the family wanted to sell, he approached them and snapped it up. Then he set about planting the land with grapevines, ancient wheat varieties and hundreds of new olive trees and carefully renovating the main house, adding an adjoining L-shaped building of stone and glass that’s the setting for the retreats restaurant and out beyond the orchards, nearly two dozen free-standing casitas. He also turned the stable into a meditation area. At 75, Antoni believes Es Racó a heritage project for him and for his longtime building partner, Jaume Danús. Still, he wanted his children by his side.
Tomeu designed the spa, an extension off the main structure that’s built into a slope. From ground level, it’s concealed behind an undulating wall of stone but, when viewed from the windows or pool deck over, resembles a terraced garden, with palm trees growing from several tiny courtyards. I put all the focus on the roof, turning it in the main facade in a way, says Tomeu, who had been affected by Moroccan desert architecture, in addition to other Moorish-era buildings around the island. ( From the terrace of Es Racs restaurant there is an uninterrupted view of the Santuario de San Salvador, a fortified Moorish citadel thatis now employed as a Christian church.)
Formally involved in one of her fathers undertakings for the first time, Rosa conceived of the staffs uniforms linen tunics and pants in beige and cream which are meant to offer comfort and harmonize with the environment along with the soft berry caftans and ponchos that are offered to guests and ideal for throwing on after a water treatment. I also shared my view about many other things, she says, raising her eyebrows with entertainment. Its true, says Tomeu. “I often ask her what she thinks about a colour or material or combination of surfaces. I truly trust her taste. ” The both of them have a WhatsApp chat where they share pictures they find inspiring. “Yesterday, she sent me a picture of the incredible project on Minorca by Ensamble Studio, a living space they’d carved out of an abandoned rock quarry,” he says.
In all that they did, the siblings tried to help make Es Racó a place that would promote health and serene, offering its guests an opportunity to connect with their environment and eat tasty and nourishing foods — the Majorcan-born chef Teresa Enseñ in Forteza-Rey will use local ingredients to create an ever-changing menu of Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian dishes. From May to December, people can opt to stay for anywhere from three days to two weeks, choosing from an assortment of health packages — one is focused on motion, another on meditation and medicinal herbs. In the winter season, Es Racó will host takeovers by distinct yoga instructors, creative types and healers, all whom will design their own schedule. Tomeu’s wife, Gemma Bes, a nurse to the tennis star and local hero Rafael Nadal, among others, will arrange several courses on healthy cooking, while Rosa is working on women-only events dedicated to creativity and art-making.
During the lockdown, Antoni himself started to paint, working with a thick combination of sand, dirt and organic pigments and creating images which are like close-ups of cracked earth. Many of his canvases currently hang in the finca’s public spaces and combine poetically with the rest of the artwork, most of it created by local makers. On the ground floor of the main building, which houses the reception and a set of lounges, there are subjective beehive-shaped vessels by the ceramist Jaume Roig; large-scale sculptures of combined wood, some sections as narrow as rope, by the artist Hiroshi Kitamura; and a three-dimensional work by Nicholas Woods that feature a sheet of translucent vinyl pierced with nails that depict a ship. Light — both artificial and natural — is an equally important element in every room, and throughout the property are curved ceramic lamps with dozens of holes cut into their surface which project luminous circles on the walls around them.
Interiors should surprise you and give you a particular energy as you travel through them, says Rosa, appearing over Zoom clad in a cotton voile leading to a rich sienna colour and a mild camel-colored cashmere coat of her own design. She and Tomeu are sitting under an olive tree on the restaurant’s terrace. In the distance behind them is the village of Artà, and facing them is a bunch of citrus trees, together with a mobile of metal rods and big yellow orbs by the Majorcan artist Pere Ignasi that ’s rotating in the breeze. Were hoping to create a little world with architecture and textiles and art one that make us feel in balance with nature, she says. And, she adds, it’s particularly rewarding to do that together.