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Allow the movie maestros at NOWNESS to whisk you away to the home and workspace of a world-renowned artist and architect, Ricardo Bofill. In this magical short movie, the Spanish architect discusses his abode, a restructured cement factory in the town of Sant Just Desvern in Spain.
Directed by Albert Moya, the film captures the architect in his home and headquarters of his architecture shop, a transformed cement factory filled with contemporary furniture and plants. While the vast array of rooms — some left open plan, some consisting of nooks and crannies reminiscent of the building’s previous use — may seem confusing, Bofill sees it as a charm: “The advantage of this labyrinth is that people don’t find each other and everyone can live as they want to.”
“I was very young and I really wanted to change the world,” begins Bofill, “and they kicked me out of university, so I went to travel and build and became a nomad.”
Bofill found his ideal home in an ancient cement factory outside of Barcelona, which, at the time that it was working, was very polluting to its surroundings. “I wanted to buy all the land so I could occupy and work in the factory and build my own team of sociologists, philosophers, mathematicians, painters and writers.”
Inside the home, plans and models are scattered around the rooms, on tables and hanging on the walls, inspiring the artist and setting the stage for future works. “My life is always made up of projections, because the profession of architecture leads you to project the future,” explains Bofill. “So this influences your own mind.”
Bofill feels inspired in his space as it influences him to move forward and to imagine new objects and movements for his architecture. “I don’t like the appearance of luxury. I think luxury is in space, in a lifestyle.”
A setting for his collection of Modernist furniture, the factory is a reinvented structure “where the spaces are used for everything.” Bofill approached the renovation with a minimalistic touch and used simple materials, maintaining the rough surfaces and industrial elements of the original building.
“This is a place where the traditional is not conceived,” he explains. “It crosses aesthetic trends: a brutalist vision with a romantic vision of useless structures that have been left for pure aesthetic composition.”
Bofill prides himself on having transformed the previously polluting complex into a green space, where the smokestack now stands like a sculpture over the labyrinth of rooms.
“It is organized by mental activities and psychological activities rather than the functions of a typical household,” he explains. This allows for different areas of the house to be more suitable to certain occupations and for the creation of micro-environments within a larger complex. Spatial sensibility dictates the organization of the home, sometimes left as a large open floor plan and sometimes cluttered with modernist furniture items — chair, sofas and large tables — with plants all around.
“The two things that excite me and make me vibrate are the aesthetic feeling[s]: Beauty is what moves me, and after that, intelligence.” Bofill’s home is an ode to the possibilities of renovating industrial spaces, a place to think and develop new ideas for architecture.
“It’s my place, it’s my reference, it’s where I live,” he concludes. “It’s here where I know how to live, here where I know how to work, where I start to think and project.”
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