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Design Dilemma: Defining Spanish Style

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When it comes to good food, chefs around the world take inspiration from Italy and France. And when it comes to good design, the world’s designers naturally look to Japan, Italy, Sweden and France. A sophisticated sense of style and willingness to take risks serves as inspiration to designers around the world. But there’s another country with an admirable sense of style which doesn’t get as much attention: Spain. The land of filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, painter Antoni Tapies and Camper shoes offers a lot to admire in interior design. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that there are certain principles, often coming out of Barcelona, which seem to define the Spanish sensibility:

DRAMA: Think flamenco dancing and bullfights. In interior design this penchant for drama is revealed through the use of bold colors, or dramatic darks and lights. Pedro Almodovar likes to use bright primary colors in his films, and many designers follow suit with that palette at home. The Barcelona apartment above and below, for example, makes use of vibrant red to add pop to neutrals.

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A different Barcelona apartment, below, makes use of that same concept through the use of colorful accessories and art:

Spain4 how to tips adviceAnd so does this loft space, also in Barcelona:

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We’re noticing a trend here with colored Smeg refrigerators:

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The other way to make things dramatic: go black and white. This is closer to the Antoni Tapies way of doing things. Below, the bathroom of Anna Campa of Zoo in Barcelona  goes this route:

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And so does a different Barcelona apartment below which is exultant in rich dark browns and warm creams.

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Beyond drama, Spanish interiors often:

USE UNEXPECTED MATERIALS. Campa’s bathroom is a good example, combining a carved wooden mirror with an industrial steel vanity and a stone wooden sink. Emphasis is on different combinations that contrast rather than match.

REMAIN SURPRISINGLY AIRY WITHOUT COLDNESS. Interiors are uncluttered, with a more minimal feel than a typical American home but usually not quite as minimal as a Swedish home.¬† The look is modern, but not rigorously so. There is a great regard for mixing old with new. And even when minimal, Spanish spaces always feel warm and lived in. It’s a design sensibility that is winning the Spaniards lots of attention these days.

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Images: freshome.com; designspongeonline; apartmenttherapy.com

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One comment so far to “Design Dilemma: Defining Spanish Style”
  1. Sally Book Says:

    There's something brilliant about Spanish interiors. They all look amazing, and they are so simply designed that it makes you wonder how they do it! I think we can all learn a thing or two from the Spanish.

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