rara avis. (noun \ˌrer-ə-ˈā-vəs, ˌrär-ə-ˈä-wəs\, Latin ‘rare bird’). 1. colloq. An unusual, uncommon, or exceptional person or thing. 2. fig. Relative to the popular epithet given to the family who inhabited the historic La Posada [The Inn] of Galaroza. 3. Archit. Recurrent Latinism with great infographic potential that is relegated by its dubious commercial impact. 4. Advert. Brand name chosen by several leisure stablishments and design studios in both hemispheres. 5. Art. Refers to the bird that stands on the steps of the outer stony envelop of St. Jerome’s studiolo, as represented by Antonello da Messina.
In 2012 we open our office in the rooms of an ancestral home in the Andalousian town of Galaroza, in Southern Spain. During its first months of existence the studio focused in ellaborating a theorical corpus suitable for the immediate context and the new professional paradigm alike. The studiolo, placed in Alvaro de Castilla n.1, explores the opportunity of a rurality open to the age of connectivity. In parallel to this research first interventions began to take shape.
The adaptation of the two rooms of the rural house mean for us a real founding manifesto. An ideology that stands on three principles: optimization of resources, aerated density and the right to a natural surrounding. In this quiet and clean-designed studiolo, gone through the catalogue of a swedish firm, disagreements at work are solved with the fresh breeze of the nearby hills.
The intervention seeks a sense of continuity and integrity, without excess or impositions. This contained attitude is useful when it comes to reconsidering the fine print after a serie of punctual actions which had greatly blurred the global image. Only through a careful choice of color we tackle the disparity in the external aspect of the house. The gray scale, from the white walls to the black iron, builds a complete blanket of uniformity on the disparate facades. As a result the house helps restore a harmonious relationship with the environment, one that deterioration and fragmentary initiative had seriously disrupted.
The custom of urbanites tends to see doors as flat places of mere transit. But here one quickly realizes that the door, with its distinctive façade, its light shutter, its heavy bolt, its passing wicket… is indeed a livable space itself. That is why great effort was put to recover and enhance the core values of the element. In the inside, the neutral white and the subtraction of accessories reveal its true magnitude, that of great and simple functionality. To the outside the door is presented almost naked, without fuss, just plain painted wood, concentrating every new addition (handle , lock, doorknocker, mailbox and advertising plate) in a single metal frame.
Doors also are living pieces in time, as night falls the prominence gradually slips to the interior, highlighted by inner illumination. The vestibule appears as a piece inbetween a preamble of the home and an extenstion of the street. A newcomer might be surprised to discover locals passing in without knocking. In a way, it is the business card of the home, its showcase, where the inhabitant dumps the best of himself. That’s how ancient dwellers understood it, reserving their best efforts to beautify this room, even if that implied neglecting others. The main area of this farmer’s house does not lie in hidden decorated chambers, but here, at its entrance, a very eloquent statement of their perception of the world.
By receiving the baton of the house -just another milestone in the history of La Posada– we placed the layer that best represents us. We, sudden rustics in the age of connectivity. Just a few elements, most of them recovered, emblems of frugality and humility, without dismissing love for detail and color. Bringing decorum to a hall of this volume is, above all, learning not to bend to horror vacui. Rather than dressing up the place with rustic memorabilia we learn to discover the beauty inherent to simplicity. Taking a look back to rethink the layers of peeling paint and the worn tile or beam for what they are: traces of an old dwelling. And then, freely contribute and overlap ourselves into the place with peaceful elements, of clear materiality, regardless of their origin, wether they are self-manufactured, like the Frigia lamp or the renewed Achtteile chair, or recovered, like the meeting table.