For some, to be motionless is to forfeit creativity and the possibility of progress, so when the subconscious call beckons they follow it wholeheartedly, drawn by the instigation of change, the opportunity to flow, the simple act of moving. Jurjen van Hulzen, architect, designer and owner of concept store Ibiza Interiors, knows a thing or two about this very compulsion – he made the decision to move from Amsterdam to Ibiza with his family after only visiting the island once before. It seemed necessary; it felt right. Such was his conviction to move, in fact, that he and wife Selina signed a deal on a house solely on the advice of a friend – before arriving they’d seen any of their charming finca’s potential in the Ibiza campo. “We showed up in the middle of the night and then woke up to this view,” smiles Jurjen, looking out. “And from the very first day, I just thought, this is a really cool space.” Not one to stay stagnant for long, Jurjen’s design brain wound into overdrive and he soon began work on converting the loft space, keen to make it his family’s own.
“Everything starts with the structure” he explains. “So that has entirely the same footprint, I haven’t added anything.” But, using two concrete columns and traditional Sabina wood beams found on the roof as inspiration, the concept of combining rustic with industrial was born. “I really wanted to keep showing off both aspects,” he says. “That’s when you start making your list of requirements – you puzzle it out from there.” At the top of Jurjen’s list was keeping the space open while also creating privacy, and of course, the all-important decision of working out what to put where. “As an architect, you really look at the environment and the orientation – that gives you a lot of information,” he says. “I wanted everything to open out onto the valley so I put the bedroom in the back.” A bathroom and a dining room were also added, and even objects like immovable rocks in the middle of the room were transformed into features. “We couldn’t move it so we made something out of it!” he laughs. “We built a bench on top of it. I thought I wanted to get rid of it but actually, it’s become a typical Ibiza architectural feature.”
With many years of experience working on projects all across the globe, Jurjen is more than used to dealing with issues – a rock isn’t going to stand in his way for long. And it’s a similar deal when sourcing high quality materials, notoriously not always easy on Ibiza. “We designed a new custom kitchen,” he says. “It’s made from raw steel with a natural stone top so it fits with the industrial feel.” But in keeping with the rustic side of the concept, there are softer touches elsewhere. “The curtains are 100-percent natural linen,” he affirms. Undoubtedly, it was a project requiring balance. On one hand, negotiating technical challenges like drainage and water supply (“It’s the stuff you don’t see that’s the hardest.”), on the other, enlivening the space with a smattering of work from local artists like Lolo Loren and Oliver Mader. A classic case of functionality versus design – at least Jurjen only had himself to answer to. “I was the client, the architect, the building manager and the interior designer!” he says. “There was only me, so I could tick every box I wanted. But when I work with others, it’s a dialogue, a process, a collaboration. I love that too.”
And work with others he does, often. At the Ibiza Interiors store in San Juan, clients drop in for architectural advice – either from Jurjen personally or from one of the team of three architects and designer – or for decor inspiration. The store houses a selection of stunning mid-century furniture as well as art and select homewares. It’s a studio space alive with ideas, one that Jurjen invests in creatively, and that gives back in return. With the loft conversion finished, Jurjen seems relatively content. “Sometimes I wonder if it’s too nice,” he muses. “I’ve been thinking about every little detail for six months. But I feel like I reached my goal and there is nothing I would do differently.” And will a period of creative regeneration follow, at least on a personal front? It seems unlikely. “I get to a point where I finish with a project and my mind has already moved onto the next one,” he smiles. “I cannot really sit still.”