Home Tour: A House in Madrid With Floating Steps and an Impressive Art Collection
The art came first and then the house, so naturally art plays a central role in this exceptional home. Spanish architect Ramón Esteve was appointed by the homeowners, who are avid collectors of Latin American art and wanted to move to Madrid.
Most projects arise from word of mouth or through common contacts or previous clients of the architect, but in this case, the homeowners got to know about Esteve’s firm from international publications. What captivated them about his work was the mastery with which Esteve handles masonry or dry stone, both in its technical aspects and its design. The chosen site was La Finca, one of the most exclusive estates in the Spanish capital.
The expansive residence measures 3,875sqft in built-up space and is located on a 37,673sqft plot—the goal was to create a home that soaks up the surrounding landscape, while at the same time maintains privacy for the owners. A project three years in the making, this commission involved creating a home for a family as well as a showcase for their art collection. Each space was designed based on the works that were to be installed in it.
“Helped by the collection advisor, we conducted an in-depth study and sketched all the spaces including the works that they would house; some of them, like the mirror by Anish Kapoor in the living room, are very striking,” shares the Valencia-born architect.
Modern and contemporary art are well represented in this home, including a mix of kinetic works and optical art pieces by celebrated names such as Venezuelan artists Jesús Rafael Soto and Carlo Cruz-Diez, as well as the works of Italian artists Marina Apollonio and Pino Manos.
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The architect’s creative imprint is reflected in the design of every project—in this house, it is apparent in the prominent use of stone. “The owners had seen my past works with masonry and asked me to use stone (in this home),” shares the architect. “The combination of stonework, dark wood and corten steel is reminiscent of the hues of the Sierra de Madrid mountains and the holm oak trees.”
The main idea was to blend the architecture with the landscape, using the characteristic colours of Sierra de Madrid
Natural stone was applied to the exterior walls and the floor, in a creamy ivory shade. The stone is bush-hammered on the facades and sports a polished finish for the flooring. The tonality of the large longitudinal pool also references the hues of the nearby lake.
“The main idea was to blend the architecture with the landscape, using the characteristic colours of Sierra de Madrid,” explains Esteve. “Therefore, the location is decisive; both regarding the physical sense and the cultural sphere.
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The presence of centuries-old holm oaks, scattered throughout the plot, determined the position of the house and its geometry.” He adds: “The need to maintain and enhance the holm oaks scattered around the area was a challenge; I’d like to think that the challenges facing the project became its strengths.”
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The architect started by dividing the house into several “boxes” that were extended by corten steel porches; each module varies in height depending on the room it houses. These extensions also expand the home’s link to its surroundings by forming an expansive terrace. The garden was also designed by the architect in collaboration with landscaper Gustavo Marina.
In the master bathroom, the bespoke bathtub and sinks were produced from solid blocks of Calatorao stone. This space also features an outdoor shower, set against a lush green wall that contrasts with the side walls and floor, which are clad in light stonework.
“The main challenge was to make the house cosy despite its voluminous size,” says Esteve. The living room is an open-plan, double-height space with a large window that looks out to the garden, allowing the landscape to enter the house. The spacious living area becomes more intimate when the blinds are closed, which also lends privacy by concealing it from the other rooms.
An ultra-light floating staircase with glass handrails leads to the upper floor. An open corridor provides access to the children’s bedrooms. Two other adjacent rooms feature a fish-tank effect, where you can peer into these spaces from the corridor—these areas serve as TV room and game room.
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Art is everywhere in this house—even in the main bathroom and the garage, where murals by London-based street artist Remi Rough adorn the walls. All in all, the home is the curated universe of collectors who seek to live surrounded by beauty in every corner.
This story was first published in the February 2021 issue of Tatler Homes Singapore, available with our compliments on Magzter.
- Photography Daniel Schäfer
- Production Cristina Giménez