Marià Castelló, the architect of Formentera

The architectural studio headed by Marià Castelló designed two houses in Formentera, the setting of the new GANDIABLASCO catalogue shoots. One of them, the Es Pujol de S’Era house, is where Castelló works and lives and was used as a backdrop to shoot the SALER SOFT collection designed by José Gandía-Blasco.

And 8×8 house, where was featured MÓDULO belonging to the Outdoor Spaces collection as well as the swimming pool where the BALI sunshade, designed by Odosdesign and the JIAN collection by Neri&Hu were photographed. The catalogue also features another of his houses: Casa Amalia.

Castelló who this year has been invited to form part of the jury for the GANDIABLASCO International Outdoor Furniture Contest is a true fan of the island where he lives. After obtaining first class honours for his final project at architectural school and working in several architectural practices in Barcelona he decided to return to Formentera and start his own small office in 2002, a one man practice interested in culture, landscape and the territory of the smallest of the ‘Pitiusas’.

“Formentera is in my opinion serenity, harmony, calm, austerity, simplicity, purity, luminosity, self-sufficient, bravery, humility, beauty … but also vulnerability, fragility, speculation, greed, abuse, de-contextualisation, fashion ….

At this time the B side still doesn’t eclipse the main positive points, and that’s the way I try to nourish myself in terms of how I approach life, and of course my work. I come across many contradictions along the way …..doubts, regrets and sometimes fears but the essence of this place represents a reliable compass that I use to guide myself through life.

It’s difficult to talk about oneself and what one does without standing back but after 15 years working as a professional on the island I’ve now figured out some things looking back at some of the relationships (perhaps anecdotal) that link our studio to this small place:

Scale. We are a small studio on the same scale as the island. Small and with a limited number of projects underway. Right now there are three of us and I’m not crazy about the idea of growing beyond that.

Craft. I’m attracted to the authenticity of traditional culture, imperfections and the organic that are evoked by objects and vernacular architecture. This craft based process that is more to do with cabinet making than the production line is what we are after.

Multidisciplinary Self-sufficiency. The Formentera of the time before mass tourism was a paradigm of harmony with nature, of self-sufficiency …. and of a certain independence. As a parallel within our own studio we do almost everything: feasibilities, sketches, models, drawings, 3Ds, reports, mediations, planning reports, structural design (which I coordinate), photography and files for publication… even the holders 😉 reflecting somewhat the self-sufficiently that was a part of life in Formentera not so long ago.

Diversity, Non-specialisation: This isolation, the small area of the territory and the context of social and cultural coming together has converted us into “general practitioners.” It’s true to say that the main demand is for housing but it’s also true that some of those commissions have led to other more diverse work without being pigeon holed. Something that we are happy about and that makes our work more interesting.

Housing, conservation, installations, landscaping, industrial projects, furniture, publishing work, exhibitions …. have constantly kept us shifting between different scales and concepts over the last number of years.

It’s like those master builders that were so typical of their time of the island years ago and of which few remain: They’re not great at concrete shuttering, nor at re-barring very quickly, or at laying perfect tiling or plastering for that matter …but they know the land like the back of their hands and they know a little about every skill that’s required to build a small project from beginning to end without outside help. That’s what I think we are.”