Behaves like a diva whether is in numerous company or performing solo. It is the one that will catch the eye first, even if it only appears as a minor accent. Cobalt. Ultramarine. Royal blue...
It offers a true wabi-sabi aesthetic that allows you to embrace raw simplicity and immerse yourself in a contemporary luxury that is deeply connected to nature and truly delights the human senses. It comes as a surprise to many that Mallorca is all about design. It attracts people with discerning tastes, whether they want to create exquisite spaces for others or experience what the Japanese ‘applied arts’ mean. If you want to embark on this journey, my advice is to ignore the travel agents, stay away from hotel chains and throw away all Mallorca travel guides (including Phaidon’s). Just get in your car and let yourself drift. And be sure to talk to the locals, as they will always point you in the right direction.
When I talk to anyone about my subsequent stays in Mallorca, people are usually either equally excited (my team) or tentatively apprehensive, as if sensing a travel vein of gold. Some of them however look somewhat miffed, even disappointed by my choice (and I don’t blame them if the only Mallorca they know is the one disgustingly blighted by invasions of drunken youths and nauseating commercialism). Some of them have been there many times, even have family members who live there, and yet admit that they have never heard of anything I talk about passionately when asked how the trip was. And although I know the island pretty well by now, I'm always surprised to discover the different faces of it when I follow its fans on Instagram. That’s because of Mallorca's great diversity. And its hidden magic. Call me crazy, but I'm sure: if you let yourself get carried away by the wave and leave all your expectations and prejudices behind, this simple, rural island will start a very personal dialogue with you …
I dare say that everyone has his own Mallorca. As in the saying, “Show me your books and I'll tell you who you are”, it will reflect your personality like a mirror. It can give you sandy beaches, golden suntan and cold mojito drinks if that’s what you need right now. But it can also offer you a genuine aesthetic experience. In an extreme version, it may turn out that you will wake up to Mallorca as your new home, give up your big city life and run a finca in an old monastery surrounded by nature and honest design.
Since this is a home decor magazine and I’m a vintage girl looking for that elusive connection between Mallorca and Japanese aesthetics: in a loving and respectful relationship with nature, passion for craftsmanship and good design, I wanted to tell you about two such extraordinary places I had the pleasure of visiting in Mallorca just few days ago.
It all began with Sette. Sette, whom we met in the Deia Obsolete Shop and who, hearing about my magazine and my passion for design, immediately called Kate. Kate, who happened to be Kate Bellm, this Kate Bellm, a photographer who shoots for magazines and brands such as Playboy, British Vogue, Gucci and holds exhibitions of her work in galleries in London, Bali, Zurich and Los Angeles. Together with her husband, Mexican artist Edgar Lopez Arellano, they launched Hotel Corazón earlier this year, “the sickest fucking new spot in Mallorca”, as Kate called it in one of the interviews, just a 6-minute drive from Deia. That’s how I came to visit this jewel and dive deep into the eclectic world of people with exceptional taste and extraordinary attention to detail.
Set amidst the Tramuntana mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, the hotel overwhelms with originality. For me, it is synonymous with rural luxury. Unpretentious and honest. Simple and rough. Full of colours, contrasting shapes, textures, plants (the cactus collection!) and interesting objects that come from all over the world and have been put together with great care. It is not only in architectural terms that the site is strongly influenced by the organic architecture movement of the 1970s. This vibe of the absolute freedom that accompanied the project from the beginning is lingering in the air and is visible even in the way the hotel is presented online.
Everything has been made with the best materials and craftsmen on the island, making it absolutely inimitable. Each room of the hotel was designed and decorated by the local architects of ‘Moredesign Architects Mallorca’. The artwork was designed by Ozzie Wrong, Magnus Reid, as well as Kate and Edgar themselves. Yasmin Bawa is behind the reception desk and Lucy Folk designed the hotel’s orange and pink uniforms. Even the towels were designed especially for this hotel. And all this within the walls of an old monastery.
And as if that weren't enough Hotel Corazón is also self-sufficient. It has 50 garden beds with vegetables, fruit and herbs grown without pesticides and using local, regenerative farming methods. The produce is harvested at its peak of ripeness and brought directly to the table. Food that is not grown on site comes exclusively from local producers and suppliers. An idyll.
This story, in turn, began with a photograph. A photo of a piano room with old furniture, beautiful simple objects and natural light coming through the vaulted stone ceiling.
In reality, this place was even more impressive than in the photo. Inside, it smells like an old church, which makes it even more magical for me (you'll understand my passion for this kind of smell when you read this). It’s full of vintage and antique furniture, old art, design books, ceramics, local textiles and simple objects that just create a … backdrop for the building itself. And you have to know that the building is really spectacular. Not only because it’s a beautifully restored 18th century farmhouse, but also because it’s full of quiet, hidden corners that give guests the peace and privacy they crave. Basically, you can’t take in the whole picture at once. It’s like a maze that you have to walk through to get to know the whole place.
The location of Finca Son Gener does the rest. It is located in a secluded area in the northeast of Mallorca and is surrounded by a lush Mediterranean garden with olive, almond and carob trees and a garden, where the owners grow and produce their own food. Although this place is very different from Hotel Corazón, it is just as honest in how it looks and how it operates. It’s not trying to be anything or anyone else.
Like Kate Bellm said in one of her interviews “you’ve got to be an adventurer to really uncover the beauty of Mallorca”. There’s so much more to see and get inspired by than just its clear waters.
I hope I have managed to capture at least some of the souls of these places in the gallery.If you want to read more about the Balearic Islands, particularly its architecture, be sure to read this.