A child’s creativity knows no limits. Kids have a natural instinct to learn and discover new things, without any of the judgement or fear that comes with age. Once we become adults, we may feel shy about trying something new, or scared that we’ll make a mistake, but children just throw themselves in to any new experience with freedom and confidence. Instead of holding back, we should be following the leads of our little ones, and with the recent opening of Numero 74 L’Atelier in the centre of Santa Gertrudis, Ibiza families now have a place to come together over new skills, tasty healthy food and endless creativity, inspiring each other in the process.
The bright, airy and open Numero 74 L’Atelier space includes a yoga deck overlooking the village playground, an urban garden growing fruit and vegetables for the kitchen, a buffet-style cafe and juice bar serving breakfast (from 9.30am), brunch and dinner, plus a stylish store selling pieces from the renowned Numero 74 collections, from organic cotton cushion covers and duvets to stylish and chic boho fashion and charming olde world style soft toys. Around the boutique and restaurant, weaving looms, embroidery kits and even a rustic miniature market provide the perfect places for children to play, while their parents are enjoying a meal, a yoga class or browsing in the boutique.
Parisian founder of Numero 74 L’Atelier, Tara Sfez – known to her loved ones, friends and colleagues as Poupy – is an inspiring entrepreneur with a background in children’s events, including working with Disneyland Paris, and running restaurants and working in sustainable fashion. Her vision to create a space where families can take part in workshops, experience healthy food and connect with one another, is part of a much larger dream. “We believe this project can open in cities all around the world,” she explains, when talking about the inspiration for the flagship Numero 74 L’Atelier concept in Ibiza. “It’s a place for sharing family moments, a place to discover, and also a place to provide work for locals.”
Tara’s connection to Ibiza comes from spending summer holidays here, getting to know the true essence of the island and understanding the freedom and magic that comes along with its authentic lifestyle. Introducing her creative passions to the island was the logical next step. Tara created the Numero 74 brand in 2009, and today the label produces over 5000 pieces for retail, from blankets and clothing to toys and creative kits for adults or children. Everything is made from organic cotton, sourced in Sri Lanka and then woven, cut and prepared in Thailand, using a simple palette of colours that has never changed since the brand’s inception. “Our speciality is really the colours,” she says. “We don’t follow the trend for creating new collections every season – we have our basic products that have been the same since the beginning. I’m a very faithful person, when I love something, I love it forever, so that is our belief with Numero 74 L’Atelier”
Nowhere is that faith and love more evident than in the story of how Numero 74 L’Atelier founder Tara’s relationship with Thailand began. After her son was born prematurely, he suffered from medical problems and animals became a great support for him. When he was two years old, on a trip to the East, he met a baby elephant called Duna and fell in love. Tara promised to take her son back every year to visit his elephant, and made good on that promise, returning to Chiang Mai every year. Her son is now 20 years old and studying to be a vet – he’s also still great friends with Duna.
Thanks to this ongoing love story, the family business has grown from there. “After visiting Thailand as much as possible to see Duna, I had a big wish to work with the Thai people – I felt that they had a lot to teach us,” Tara explains. “Over time, we met a tuk-tuk driver who took us to see the elephant every day. He was amazing, so I asked if he could help us find some women to work for us, to support us and make our product.” Fast forward ten years, and that same tuk-tuk driver is now Tara’s business partner, managing a team of over 400 women, working from home to prepare the fabric, weave the cotton and cut the pieces ready to send to Europe. This ethical and sustainable development is at the heart of what Numero 74 L’Atelier stands for.
After selling online and via wholesale for many years, this pilot project in Santa Gertrudis is the first opportunity for Tara and the Numero 74 L’Atelier team to meet their customers face-to-face. “I realised that something was missing,” says Tara on reflection of the brand’s evolution. “I began to feel it wasn’t meaningful enough, and I realised that I had this dream of a place where we could invite people to discover that they too can be creative. To be creative is the way to heal ourselves, and consequently, to heal the world.” In addition to offering creative workshops for all ages, Numero 74 L’Atelier sells take-away kits you can work on home, from delicate pocket purses to giant wall posters – there’s something for everyone to create.
Through the daily craft or body workshops at Numero 74 L’Atelier, children and adults alike can reconnect, as families and friends. Through weaving, macrame, acro-yoga and a huge variety of other activities, they find pleasure in the art of making something new with their own hands or bodies. Guests enter into the kitchen to taste fresh and authentic homemade food – there are already plans afoot to host after-school cooking classes in the autumn months, adding yet another string to their creative bow. All of the products in the store are sustainable, and ethically sourced, from the weaving loom made of reclaimed wood from houses in Thailand, to the cherry tomatoes growing in pots on the terrace. Authenticity, heart and soul sit at the very foundation of this special and unique place – just step right in and find out how creative you can really be.
Every child has a fantasy of a top-secret clubhouse. It might be in the branches of a tree or concealed behind a secret door at the back of a cupboard – it’s one of those long lasting childhood dreams that tend to follow into adulthood. Even grown-ups need a place to hang out and get up to mischief. For Ibiza’s kids and kids at heart, this dream comes true in the shape of the Sabina Clubhouse. Located within the luxe 50-villa Sabina residential complex near Cala Tarida, this beautifully designed mecca of fun contains all the essential elements for little and big folk alike.
Renowned local architect Rolf Blakstad was enlisted to design the Sabina Clubhouse and his brief was suitably esoteric; the result is a mix between the divine and the sublime. Developer Anton Bilton told Blakstad to create the palace of a long lost Phoenician princess who walks the halls and terraces in flowing robes. “The style is faded grandeur,” says Bilton. “It’s understated. The Clubhouse is the soul of the community and we want people to walk in and feel immediately at home.” Blakstad’s signature style is evidenced throughout the architecture with expansive light wells streaming sunlight onto stone floors, broad wood beams and melodic water features.
“I designed the Sabina Clubhouse to encompass summer and winter,” says Blakstad. “In the winter, it’s all about making the space feel warm and welcoming and in the summer, it’s about enjoying the sunshine.” The reception opens towards a curved bar and dining area; the space is flooded in natural light. A curvaceous sofa wraps around a huge fireplace where blond wood bookshelves are stacked with beautiful objects and intriguing publications. Beyond is the enormous pool, framed by a series of square columns supporting wood pergolas. Patios on either side house daybeds, sofas and little nooks for private conversation over a pot of tea or an icy cold drink. The outdoor dining and kitchen area acts as a magnet for shared meals and summertime get-togethers.
The shadow of the Phoenician princess can be spotted across the elegant expanse with the dense, green forest of the surrounding hills as a foil for the gentle whites, woods and blues of the interiors. Barcelona based interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán has created a mood that takes the fictional princess’ grace and crosses it with hints of Deco and post-colonial chic. The palette is smooth and fresh; the textures are varied, from velvets and wicker to stone. In addition to the more communal spaces, the Sabina Clubhouse boasts a wine cellar where residents can store their own collection for use at the restaurant or in the private dining room. There’s also a smoking room, library and gym but the spa will no doubt become a focal point with its sauna, Jacuzzi, Hammam and two treatment rooms. The final piece in the fun-puzzle is a dedicated private nightclub, which Bilton describes as very laid-back and uncommercial, a place to forge the friendships made with the people you met earlier in the day by the pool or at the restaurant.
The exterior area of the Sabina Clubhouse centres on the amphitheatre where Bilton envisages outdoor cinema nights, lectures, workshops and sun-dappled yoga. Nearby is a non-denominational chapel, a labour of love that conveys Bilton’s idea of the spirituality of inclusion. “It doesn’t have a name, but I call it the Temple of Gratitude,” says Bilton. “It’s not at all about religion. I wanted a space where people could come for contemplation, connection and celebration.” Blakstad took the Pantheon as his prime inspiration for the design, creating a dual space. “There’s an area that is sunken, private and quiet. You literally go down into it as if you are going into yourself,” says Blakstad. “The other area is open and public. This is the place for celebration.”
Despite the sophistication of the architecture, design and facilities for adults, one can’t help but think the real purpose behind the Sabina Clubhouse are children. “I’ve got five kids,” says Bilton. “I wanted to make a space where kids were allowed to be free and roam and play without limitations. Really, it’s all about them.” Of course, the pool will feature heavily in the summer but beyond the amphitheatre is a series of rooms whose sole purpose is to delight little people. A dedicated playroom for the younger ones is filled with toys and books while the older ones enjoy the full-size bowling alley. Bilton has plans for silent movie nights with headphones, games, parties and a lot of good-humoured shenanigans. “The idea is that the kids get to be kids,” says Bilton. “And the adults can relax knowing they are safe and having fun.”
Bilton is all too aware of the realities of travelling with kids and aims to limit the amount of time parents have to spend in the car shuttling their offspring from one activity to the next. He can see that Ibiza has evolved and is attracting people looking for a different kind of life, one that is less about clubbing and more about friends and family. Yet, at the same time, he recognises the need for kids to have their autonomy and parents to get some free time. Spain is famous for having a respect for childhood unlike any other country and Sabina and its Clubhouse takes that idea to a whole new level.
The Sabina Clubhouse is the nexus of the development and the culmination of Bilton’s vision to build a community of connected, like-minded people, living and gathering in spaces created by his favourite architects and designers from across the globe. It’s an ambitious project, encompassing design, art and lifestyle in a way never done before. The project is well fitted to Ibiza, where freedom and beauty are always at the forefront of island life. The Sabina Clubhouse is set to become an island emblem and a destination for a new kind of Ibiza visitor and resident.
After more than 20 years of business, Jason Watson Todd of multi-disciplinary architecture, landscape, maintenance and construction firm Terravita is getting back to his roots. A major operational restructuring is refocusing his passion for the environment and cutting edge design. “I came up with the name Terravita in 1996,” says Watson Todd. “It’s Latin, meaning Earth and Life. The company has grown a lot over the years but now it’s time to get back to the original meaning behind the name. We’re metamorphosing.”
The architectural and design studio delivers beautiful, liveable homes and the team see themselves as a gateway for clients to achieve their dreams through the lens of environmental protection, without forgoing style and beauty. A Terravita home is contemporary and chic; its environmental aspects are basically invisible whether it’s a refurbishment or new build. Terravita’s five sectors – renewables, gardens, construction, design and maintenance – are being brought back under the umbrella of the main company, allowing processes to be refined and concentrated. “We want to make sure the client is centred in every aspect of the business,” says Watson Todd. “Bringing everything back under one roof means the flow of information is contained.”
The Terravita team consists of architects, technical architects, landscape designers and biologists, all connected by a passion for environmental design. “We go all the way to the edge on the design side and then pull it back into reality,” explains Watson Todd. “It’s a lot of fun and gives us an opportunity to think outside of the mainstream before reining it back in.” The enthusiasm of his team is one of the things that inspires Watson-Todd to keep pursuing his dreams. “There is so much new information out there every day. I can’t keep up by myself,” he says. “What it boils down to is the team’s passion. Each of us has our own areas of interest. We meet once a week to brainstorm new ideas and find action points. Sometimes it might take six months to develop an idea and sometimes it might be five years.”
Every architectural endeavour requires compromise. When it comes to tallying the needs of the environment with the desires of clients, Watson Todd’s attitude is about mitigating the circumstances. “If a client is really keen on having a lawn we’ll explain the alternatives available and then if that doesn’t fit with their vision we’ll look at it from an environmental perspective,” he says. “We’ll put in a recycled water system that’s irrigated from underground, we’ll choose a water-wise species of grass and put in a reed bed.” Gardens are where Terravita started and landscaping remains a passionate part of the company, with an in-house biologist working to create wildlife-friendly outdoor spaces. Along with bird and hedgehog houses, the company has started to install bat homes as a deterrent to mosquitos. “One native bat eats about 2000 mosquitos a night,” says Watson Todd. “It’s much better than spraying.”
After 20 years at the vanguard of Ibiza’s environmental architecture scene, Watson-Todd is pleased with the way the island has evolved. As technology has improved and awareness of climate change has increased, clients are starting to see green architectural solutions as completely viable. “People are a lot more interested in energy efficiency and water recycling. There’s been a big shift in the last five years.” Watson Todd uses the analogy of buying a new car, citing that the first thing you ask is how much will this car cost to run? “Unfortunately people forget to ask that of their homes. I’ve seen clients who are spending up to 6000€ per month through inefficiency, just from the kind of taps they use, or the cooling and heating they have. It’s unnecessary, and we can reduce that by 80 to 90-percent.”
Terravita loves a challenge and doing a refurb can be just as exciting as building from scratch. For the owner, satisfaction comes with a reduction in monthly bills and a sense of pride in helping to protect the environment. Watson-Todd has cultivated a network of professionals each with their own speciality, preferring to collaborate with people who are dedicated to perfection in their chosen field. “We’ve built a big pool of people to work with,” says Watson Todd. “It all comes back to providing that excellence to the client.” Terravita’s clients are split 50/50 between people who come to them for the environmental aspects and those who love the sleek, modern style the company is known for. Watson Todd approaches each project with the same excitement, whether Terravita goes on to manage the build or just does the design. “Our objective is to deliver an environmentally aware design and to keep getting better and better at it.”
Watson Todd is considered in his approach – there’s no dogma or demands, just a gentle respect for the environment and a desire to push the boundaries of architecture. “I’m not a puritan. I don’t think we should go backwards in terms of lifestyle,” he says. “We try to find the middle ground, to create a lifestyle that is conscious and look at ways to compensate certain choices.” Watson Todd’s own family home is a testament to his dedication and passion. It’s a quintessential Ibiza style villa, with the added Terravita bonus of being energetically self-sufficient and easy to run. The Watson Todds have not had to make any compromises in the way they live while staying true to their principles.
There’s a new urgency to Terravita’s mission. In the last few years’ climate change has become the defining issue of our times. Despite the grim outlook, Watson Todd remains optimistic. “Things are bad but I think we’ll pull through it,” he says. “There’s a shift in consciousness and people are starting to take responsibility and not waiting for governments.” Ibiza is the ideal place for a quiet revolution, especially when it comes to architecture and garden design, and Terravita is leading the way. “Doing my best is what gets me up in the morning,” Watson Todd says. “We keep striving and evolving and always keep the environment in mind. It’s about doing your best within your means.” The restructure lets the team flourish and redefine their purpose while also providing clients with a streamlined service and a way to live their best Ibiza lives in harmony with nature.
In 2018, designer Marie Su – best known for her work as creative director of luxury swimwear brand Sumarie – experienced a conscious shift that crossed all areas of her life and work. After many years spent traversing the globe and working to the demands of the high end fashion industry, she felt the desire to become liberated from the expectations, boundaries and labels of others. Her connection to Ibiza had always been strong, and after the birth of her first child, she gave up city life in favour of authentic campo living – thriving off the energy of the island.
Here in Ibiza, Marie felt she had the freedom to redefine her life and work in a way that allowed her to combine her painting with her designs. The two elements flow harmoniously together through the Sumarie brand – without one, there would not be the other. Today, she describes herself not as an artist or a designer; rather, a creative person with unlimited potential. Here, she shares some of her favourite recent abstract pieces – created during her first year of being immersed in island living and culture.
Aqua, Ibiza 2018 Paper and watercolour on canvas “When I started to work with round shapes and canvases, I felt an immediate connection with universal structures and colours of the elements,” says Marie, of this striking circular, textural piece from her 2018 series ‘The Elements’. “Since I became so heavily inspired by the nature of this beautiful white island and its feminine energy, I wanted to try to capture it in movement, texture and colour, which is how this spontaneous and very free-flow piece was born.”
No need to explain, Ibiza 2018 Ink, watercolour and pigments on canvas The first painting from her series ‘Universal Language’ is one of Marie’s personal favourite pieces from the work she created in the last year while undergoing a transformation in her first six months of life on the island. “It was so beautiful and implosive to paint this series,” she says. “It was basically like letting something else do the work for you; you just watch the show, as if someone is channelling it through you. These paintings have incredible amounts of codes, words, symbols and pure movement of vibrations.”
«любить», Ibiza 2018 Pen, watercolour and glue with pigment on canvas Translating from Russian as ‘To Love’, this piece is also from the ‘Universal Language’ series of works created in 2018 in Ibiza. The artist explains her inspiration: “To really feel and experience how you can love someone unconditionally makes a much stronger and bigger impact on your system than being loved and thinking of love as a social concept. In the first year after having my first baby, I experienced that and wanted to capture it in pure vibration through a painting. The Russian part came through there as a power system and something pure from my childhood.”
Out in Nature, Ibiza 2018 Mixed media: Pigment, gel, collage and watercolour on canvas You can almost see and feel the colours of Ibiza pulsating through this mixed media work. “Ever since I moved to Ibiza’s campo, the Mediterranean green has been really a beautiful surrounding colour, representing life and vitality to me,” explains Marie of her inspiration. “This painting is exactly that; it captures those special green tones we see here in Ibiza everyday, all year round.” Contact Marie Su directly to enquire about viewing, purchasing or commissioning her work. Email [email protected]
Here on the white isle, the dedicated team of eco-warriors behind the Ibiza Preservation Foundation support cutting-edge projects and vital research across some of the most pressing issues of our times – think environmental preservation and protection, water and energy use and the promotion of sustainable practices. The latest project they’ve thrown their weight behind is Ibiza Produce, a platform created to encourage the continued cultivation of the land and provide access to, and support for, local farmers and producers. The driving force behind Ibiza Produce is Gabrielle Gambina, whose background in tourism and finance coupled with experience as a chef and passion for good food has prepared her well for the role.
The impetus for Ibiza Produce resulted from a yearlong study of the local market, consumer habits and interviews with farmers. “It became obvious that people in Ibiza want to buy local produce and products and give back to the island but that the issue was in distribution, labelling and awareness,” says Gabrielle. “There are various challenges associated with this, so we started out by going back to basics, which is information and knowledge,” explains Gabrielle. “In the first instance, we want to put the farmers and producers out there.” It makes sense – local farmers are the unsung heroes of the community and have long been the heart and soul of the island. Ibiza Produce aims to bring their essential work into the limelight.
Year one for Ibiza Produce will focus on information, communication and community. The first major project for the organisation was the website – a portal providing much-needed education on local produce, farmers and products. Published in English and Spanish, the website is a constantly updated resource which puts all the best local produce and products at your fingertips, quite literally. Using the easy-to-navigate sections, islanders can easily access information about direct sales farms, fresh veggie box delivery and a list of markets across the island where locally grown fresh food and island-made products can be purchased. You can even find information on booking a farm visit – a great activity for young and old, locals and visitors or just the curious at heart!
Ibiza’s fertile soil provides a cornucopia of goodness and the Ibiza Produce website also lists information on where to stock up on traditional crops such as almonds, xeixa (an ancient low-gluten grain native to the island), fruits, vegetables and much more. Focus is also given to non-traditional products that are made here in Ibiza, with everything from beer and gin to jams, honey and natural cosmetics being showcased online. Over 50 farmers and producers are featured on the site, with more added every day and there are now plans to provide recipes too, completing the circle from farm to shopping bag to home.
“Collaboration is key,” says Gabrielle. “We want to bring people together over our shared agenda which is think global, eat local.” As Ibiza Produce grows across sectors, more focus will be given to events that support and celebrate Ibiza’s food culture. “The island’s farmers are very keen to engage directly with consumers,” Gabrielle says. “We have personal meetings, workshops, pop-up dinners and special events for adults and children.” One local chef, an early supporter of Ibiza Produce, has already incorporated the ethos into his work by hosting regular farmer’s dinners, where the farmers introduces themselves before guests indulge in a meal made with their produce. It’s personal touches like these that allow locals to feel a connection with not only the island they love, but also those people who work towards sustaining its future.
Farming is not an easy profession but it’s essential to the livelihood of the island and the health of the land. “If the land is left uncultivated in Ibiza, the pine trees take over, causing many environmental issues,” says Gabrielle. “Our objective is to revive and protect Ibiza’s farmland.” To do this, education is critical and Ibiza Produce works with local schools to create vegetable gardens and curriculum while also helping to boost student numbers at the agricultural college and commencing discussions with local authorities on how to provide school canteens with local produce. Infiltrating the school system in this way means today’s island kids grow up with much more awareness than previous generations – something that is essential to the preservation of Ibiza, and planet Earth in general.
There are plans for Ibiza Produce to expand into bricks and mortar support for local producers. “We are researching the possibility of creating a shared kitchen facility where caterers, producers and distribution companies can rent space by the hour, week, month or year,” explains Gabrielle. “They’ll get access to the facilities they need to expand without the financial burden.” The goal is to make it easier for producers to do what they do best, while providing the infrastructure for production, distribution and marketing to reach customers who are eager to enjoy home-grown products. Online shopping is a future goal with support already provided to the creation of a hive where online purchases of local products can be paid for in advance and collected from a pick-up point. Stay tuned for developments.
Collaboration reaches across the Balearics too with connections made in Menorca, Mallorca and Formentera to promote hampers filled with local products. Keep an eye out for dedicated stands filled with locally produced goodies in some of your favourite stores in the coming weeks and months. While purposefully created hampers are on the cards for the future, Gabrielle suggests this Christmas is the perfect opportunity for Ibiza residents to support the island’s producers by creating unique Ibiza-themed Christmas gifts and hampers for your friends, families and loved ones, using the handy website guide to locate all the products and produce you want to include. And while you’re at it – why not source all the festive foods you need to create your Christmas feast here on island soil? ‘Tis the season to be giving after all – why not give back to the island at the same time?
Ana Lui’s rise as Ibiza’s premier photographer has been stratospheric. Born in Warsaw, Ana graduated in Media Arts at Plymouth University after which she decided UK life was not for her. A season working in Ibiza cemented her love for the island and she made the move in 2007. Finding her island feet didn’t take long and she soon made her mark as Ibiza’s most sought-after wedding and event photographer, creating a brand that has seen her flown to nuptials all over the world. Having conquered the wedding market, Ana found herself in a position to add more bows to her quiver. She began to pursue her dream of branching into travel photography and her images – of Asia, the Caribbean, North Africa and Europe among other destinations – now grace the covers of the world’s leading travel magazines including Conde Nast Traveller UK. Never one to remain in the status quo, Ana is now focusing her lens on architecture, interiors and lifestyle. Inspiration came from roaming the globe for her travel photography, which often included shooting the most luxurious, unique properties and hotels. “I found that I really enjoyed that side of my work,” she says. “It’s about light and shape and form.”
Representing the choices of an architect and designer, using a camera and available light is an art form in itself. Everybody can take a snap of the Empire State building but few can truly capture its essence. “I am interested in telling a unique story of the people, idea and concept behind every design and structure,” explains Ana, who also styles the properties as she shoots. “I like to show the process that’s involved and all the emotions. It’s not typical estate agency photography.” As Ana has become more immersed in this new side of her work, she has developed a broad knowledge base. “I began to recognise designers by the style of their work and to understand the importance of certain materials,” she says. “It’s a different world for me and I’m totally fascinated by it.” This growing knowledge contributes a whole new meaning to her images, allowing for the design process to be transmitted through the camera and onto the page.
In recent years Ana has moved into the realm of film photography, introducing a new aesthetic to her work. Photographing on film allows for a certain ambience to permeate the images. “There’s a quality that is hard to pin down when you shoot on film,” says Ana. “It has a more human touch.” Grain, light, texture and depth of field all play a role in film photography creating a multi-layered finish that enhances the angles and shadows within an architectural photo. While film was Ana’s first love, the digital medium provides her with room to really play with style. Having the skills to shoot on both formats allows her clients and collaborators more choice and control over the results. Different projects require different approaches; the flexibility to choose is what makes Ana’s work distinctive. “My goal is to transmit a structure’s spirit and story,” she says. “Some stories respond to film, others to digital. Each one is unique.”
Ibiza provides a lot of scope for architectural photography. The island’s architecture runs the gamut from 400-year-old ancient stone edifices dripping in character to jaw-dropping examples of minimalist design. The island’s interior designers have created spaces steeped in island traditions from farmhouse chic and bohemian treasure troves to Scandi wholesomeness and contemporary elegance. For design and photography aficionados, Ibiza provides a kaleidoscope of options. For Ana Lui, the island is a never-ending source of inspiration and coupled with her global travels, she is never short of stimulating subjects. Motivated by a love of storytelling through images, her work possesses a unique ambience that showcases her personal desire for knowledge. The foray into architecture and design will be a delight not only for her but also for design geeks across the world.
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.”
Two years ago, this abandoned farm was a wasteland of fallow meadows and neglected orchards. Today the 56 hectares of farmland are flourishing under the devoted guidance of Marina Morán Jou. As the island’s largest organic farm, it has become an oasis of blooming beauty open for all to behold. The team of passionate individuals dedicated to reactivating the island’s farming culture discovered Terra Masia, which means farmland in Catalan. Parched and overgrown the land was in desperate need of love, dedication and time to bring it back to its fertile glory. Spanish-born Marina was entrusted to take this vision forward to create not only a productive working farm but also a beacon of hope for the island’s burgeoning organic farming scene.
Working with the earth is in Marina’s blood. Hailing from a farming lineage she has followed the path of her father and grandparents, but along the way she has created her own methods. Marina doesn’t like to define her farming style, instead, she investigates approaches and tests techniques to see what works for the land. “I don’t like to put labels on the methods I use,” she says. “I listen to the land. My job is to recover the fertility of the soil. All my efforts and the work I do comes back to this and my love of the land.” Now in her third year, Marina leads the farm’s ambition to become an emblematic benchmark for other organic farms and an international example of eco-friendly and sustainable agriculture. Eschewing pesticides and chemicals companion planting provides homes for useful insects while repelling others from their favourite dining spots. Green manure replenishes the soil and all farm practices are geared towards supporting the cycles of nature.
Biodynamic farming methods work with the phases of the moon to harness ultimate growing advantage. The health of the soil and all that grows within it is the focal point, allowing produce to be grown at optimal nutritional levels. That’s why you’ll find some areas in rest – soil beds given ‘time off’ so they can revitalise – while others are in a changing cycle of local vegetables and specimens from countries with similar climates permitting the land to bear a rich variety of food. Golden beetroot, rainbow chard, sprouted leaves and beautifully aromatic herbs line the fields while juicy pears and zingy lemons grow abundantly within the orchards. Tiny Cucamelon – like a lime and cucumber combined – from Central America, vibrantly purple and uniquely shaped Kohlrabi from Vienna and rich and sweet Costoluto Fiorentino tomatoes from Italy are just some of the international flavours that contribute to the fields of flavour and colour. “We really wanted to bring something new to the island and to the people that live here,” Marina explains. “Now we offer a rainbow of crops for them to enjoy.”
Every weekday, between 8am and 3pm the farm invites island residents, visitors and holidaymakers to walk through the flourishing fields to the on-site market shop where you can purchase boxes filled with vivacious and organic vegetables, fruits and herbs. With its focus on seasonal products, you can be sure the bountiful boxes of goodness always contain something new, exciting and different, and are guaranteed to be organic and sown with love. Also beginning this season, Terra Masia invites guest chefs to share the flavours of the land with farm members during special pop-up dinner events where a three-course menu is served at tables set in the starlit fields. This is the quintessence of farm-to-table dining. Sip on selected organic wines as black Ibicencan pigs – part of an island-wide revival programme – snore lazily in the background and happy hens take shelter for the night. To become a member of the farm and gain access to these exclusive dinner events, simply sign up via the website link below. This is Ibiza living at its very best.
For many, making the move to Ibiza, particularly when trying to open a business, can be a lengthy, drawn out process. But for Irina Barneveld, founder and creative director of design and decoration business, La Vie Bohème, it felt like it happened overnight – albeit a restless one in which she tossed and turned and didn’t actually get much shut-eye! In part, because she already had an online and personal presence on the island (having worked on many interiors projects in the Balearics), but also because her relationship with Ibiza spans over two decades. When the time was right, she was ready to finally draw back the curtains on her first ever Ibiza store. During that period, many premises came and went, but for Irina and her partners Peter and Pedro – as with everything – it was about waiting for the right place, in the right moment and maintaining faith that the perfect space would pop up at some point. She was right, and her patience was rewarded with an outstanding spot in Cala Carbo, right next to the renowned Harissa Villas and cool café La Sardina Loca – a place that couldn’t be better suited for showcasing La Vie Bohème’s beautiful, inspirational wares. “Once we found the property we managed to complete everything within three weeks,” says Irina, slightly aghast at her own efficiency. “It was actually really fun.”
Finding joy in the midst of all this madness was a labour of love for Irina. Ibiza has fed into her creative process for many years, and consequently it’s always been a dream of hers to open a store on the island. “Our collection suits Ibiza very well,” she explains. By all accounts, people are coming in their droves. Since the store’s opening it has been inundated with clients keen to soak up some of Irina’s faultless style. In keeping with La Vie Bohème’s original aesthetic, there are standalone pieces from brands like Gervasoni, Linteloo, Classicon, Gubi, Meridiani and Ligne Roset and Matthew Williamson, but also a hand-picked selection from suppliers in far-flung destinations like India, Turkey, Morocco and South America. Of course, there’s also a stunning selection of Turkish kilims – Irina’s speciality – and a range of intricately woven, luxury fabrics, which can be transformed into cushions, benches or one-of-a-kind lampshades for both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Even in its early days, the store has already experienced huge demand for these. “Our lampshades are probably the first thing you notice when you come to the shop,” says Irina. “We can create something really beautiful with the fabrics we stock in store, and each one is made to specification.” It’s worth noting Irina works on a consultation basis too, so if you’re devoted to a particular style but can’t find the right fabric, she personally helps you uncover the ideal material. “If you let us know what you’re looking for, we can source it and have it in Ibiza within a couple of weeks,” she explains. “We work with excellent craftspeople, and we’re dedicated to delivering the finished product as quickly as possible.” This efficiency extends to larger projects too, which are typically carried out with Irina’s quintessential personal touch. “Whether it’s a living room or an entire house, we like to help our clients personalise their homes,” she states. “It’s their house, not ours, so it’s important you can feel their touch within the walls.”
Her devotion to authenticity means Irina’s projects truly stand out. “For me, it’s about trust,” she explains. “It’s about taking the time to form relationships with people. What do they like? How do they live? Do they have kids? These are the important questions to consider when working with them.” She goes on: “In someone’s private home you need to be able to feel their energy.” With an ethos such as this, it’s no wonder she’s been welcomed to the white isle with open arms.
“I always had a dream to have a place here,” recalls Melissa Spero, a British-born public relations specialist whose passion for interiors led her to completely refurbish and redesign Can Olivos, the beautiful Ibiza home she shares with her husband Christopher and daughters Lola and India. The journey to finding their perfect property was not without its ups and downs, however the destination was perfect in the end. “In retrospect, I’m really glad,” Melissa says. “Because in the end, this is what my heart was set on. I like the juxtaposition of being in the middle of the countryside but seeing the sea and the sunset. I love the light which enters the house – it’s unbelievable. It’s the one thing above everything which reminds me of how lucky I am to be here. Her first taste of Ibiza had been at the age of 23 – a beach and clubbing holiday with friends – when she felt the famous magnetic pull of the island. “The older we became, the less it was about clubbing and the more it was about days at the beach,” Melissa says. “I had a friend with a house here and I’d stay with her and experience the best bits of Ibiza.” When she met Christopher, he had never visited the island and it wasn’t until 2008 that they visited Ibiza together, when his career as a house and techno producer and DJ, and one half of electronic music act Dense & Pika led him to perform at the legendary Space Ibiza.
It was love at first sight for Christopher too and in the years that followed, the couple would visit every summer with friends, renting a villa they had become particularly attached to in Cala Conta. “We tried to buy that house in the lead up to getting married,” says Melissa, of the beginning of their journey to becoming Ibiza homeowners. “We got quite far down the line but on our return from honeymoon we found that it had fallen through. The house had a lot of underlying problems – but its view became my criteria when looking at houses after that. I always wanted to be able to see the sea and the sunset – especially after we had children, so you could stay home but still benefit from all the beautiful things the island has.” Melissa and Christopher began widening their search in the hope to find the perfect home – ultimately looking in all parts of the island. “We lost our way a bit as we got desperate,” Melissa says as she looks back on the experience. “At one point, after another sale had fallen through, it was like, let’s just get a house! It was such a rollercoaster ride. We thought it was never going to happen and then our agent told us this house in the middle of the island, in Benimussa, had come up. I liked the fact it was central to everywhere and so we jumped on an early morning flight – straight after Christopher came out of a gig with no sleep – and came to view it.”
It was at this point the Speros’ Ibiza destiny finally fell into place. “As soon as we went onto the top terrace and saw how fantastic the view was – we had the sea and the sunset, we were in the campo but we weren’t totally isolated – we said yes! It was a no brainer for us.” says Melissa. “The house definitely needed updating but we thought it was at the right stage for us to step in. It didn’t need knocking down and rebuilding – it was more that it needed decorative elements and a bit of personality. It was a great opportunity for us so we put an offer in and… third time lucky!” In May 2014, they took possession of Can Olivos and work began to transform it into their dream home while the family continued living in London. “We painted all the walls white straight away,” remembers Melissa. “In terms of the wood, we didn’t want it to be too dark, but equally we didn’t want it to be non-descript white! There are perils doing renovations when you’re not here, and at one point the windows were painted an electric blue, so we had to tone it down with copious amounts of white paint. Now, four years on we have totally switched to a very light French grey. I had a lot of angst over the colour – I’d stare at it for hours and hours. The builders thought I was completely mad. If you don’t get these details right, you have to live with them for a long time.”
Melissa’s intent for the interiors was to fuse the airiness of Scandinavian design with the charm of French country chic, with a little bit of Ibicenco style thrown in. The result is an elegant family home with all the charm of Ibiza living. “I love interiors,” Melissa admits. “It really is my passion – but it’s a big responsibility as my decisions can impact the family’s enjoyment of living here. So far, it’s been massively positive – but I know they’ll tell me straight away if I haven’t got it right! I’ve been doing up properties since I was 21. In fact, my father always encouraged me to work in interiors, but I didn’t think I was creative enough so I stayed in financial PR. Perhaps it’s the fact Melissa has used her passion on personal projects rather than working for clients that makes Can Olivos so special and perfectly tailored to suit the family’s lifestyle. “I come at it from an emotional perspective,” she says. “Maybe interior designers put logic behind things – but for me, everything is done on a gut feeling rather than a qualification. Building works are expensive so you don’t want to make a mistake! Christopher is a good person to bounce ideas off.” Her supportive husband laughs when asked about his involvement. “I stay out of things until I’m asked,” he says. “But I love the way she does things – even though Melissa spends a long time making a decision, she never likes it to begin with. There’s always a 24-hour buffer until she loves it!”
“It’s true,” says Melissa, who also learned Spanish so she could manage the entire project from afar. “I never look at it and say it’s amazing. I angst over big decisions. Our builder Abdul is fantastic and extremely patient. But sometimes it’s a slow burn until I like it.” From ripping out old red ceramic tiles and replacing them with sleek contemporary micro cement floors (“We didn’t realise how long it would take and the entire family had to live upstairs for weeks!”) to updating the bathrooms, kitchen, terraces, plumbing, electrics, her decisions – be they infrastructural or aesthetic – have all proven successful. With seven bedrooms perfectly spaced throughout multiple floors of the house and a guesthouse, Can Olivos is spacious enough to be fully occupied without feeling crowded. “It makes me happy to have people here, so we made a lot of different zones for people to hang out in,” says Melissa. “It’s good to have people scattered when we have a full house. We have great family lunches and dinners; all the kids can run around safely but then I can also retreat to my own oasis upstairs. I need that contrast – privacy is really important to me.” The roof terrace upstairs is both Melissa and Christopher’s idea of heaven. “When the kids go to bed in the summer, we head up there for sunset with a glass of something… that for me, is happiness. I have a theory that when I’m too old to go up and down the stairs, I’m just going to live on that floor!”
Much of the art and décor within Can Olivos has been collected over a lifetime of world travels or are family heirlooms, complemented with one-of-a-kind finds from Ibiza antique stores, auction houses and interior specialists plus statement pieces ordered from the UK. “I don’t think you need a lot of furniture,” says Melissa. “I’d rather have less but have something impactful.” A solid oak swing hanging from a tree was a must for the garden, purchased prior to the move, while outdoor sculptures were handcrafted by Christopher, who was once a student at the prestigious Central Saint Martins college. “I’d love to start doing it again when I’m not touring so much,” he says. Today, Melissa and the kids are based in Ibiza full-time, as she runs her PR firm remotely, travelling to see her international client base when needed, while Christopher’s work sees him split his time between his studio in the UK and in Ibiza, with a non-stop touring schedule in between. “I fly back and forth a lot,” he admits. “It’s hard in the winter without direct flights, but it’s so worth it when you get here.” Melissa loves the multi-cultural aspect of the island and believes it’s a wonderful place to bring up children. “What I love about Ibiza is that people are from all walks of life, colours and creeds,” she says. “You can be submersed in nature, and part of a small community, yet in a group of very open minded people.”