Laura, can you introduce yourself?
I am an architect. I was born in Brussels to Spanish parents. I’m married to Nicolas, a calm, (very) patient book-lover (he secretly dreams of having his own bookshop, that I would design for him!). We are the happy parents of a girl full of energy and joy, named Olivia. We live in the city centre, walk almost everywhere and we chose bikes over a car when we moved in.
What led you to architecture?
Architecture was a true vocation. I have known what I wanted to do since I was a child. My father used to work in this field and I often went to construction sites with him on weekends. My parents have always encouraged me to reach this goal. While I was studying architecture at the ISA Saint-Luc in Brussels, I was lucky enough to study in Venice for one year. This different vision of architecture made me want to open my mind to different schools. After I got my degree, I went to Madrid for another master’s degree in Collective Housing. Today, I am a freelance architect. I work with a Brussels agency and, since 2011, I have been developing my own projects under the name of Until One. I have no preference; I start every project with the same enthusiasm and throw myself into it as if it were for me.
Can you tell us the story of this house?
After having lived in Madrid for three years, we came back to Brussels and we fast felt this desire to find a place that could become our home. When we visited that place, there was absolutely nothing! Not a single wall, nor even stairs. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give free rein to our creativity and Nicolas was afraid of the unknown. Well, actually, there was nothing he could hold onto to anticipate what it could look like. The next day, I went back to the house to visit with a friend and the same evening, we were making an offer. Nicolas trusted me and today we are glad we bet on this place. We are in the city centre but in a quiet and peaceful street in front of a church, which brings more charm.
You have lived for a long time in Madrid. Can you tell us more about your experience there?
They are probably the most beautiful years of my life. The light, atmosphere and energy there are unique. We went there to complete our studies and we came back from even more in love and completely transformed. The people’s good mood, sun and parks in the city provided me with a sweet memory.
How would you describe your world?
I like sober and minimalist worlds, with a touch of craziness which brings a true personality. It translates into several forms, materials, colours, textures or even a mix of expensive and large retailers’ pieces that I distort from its original function. I like the idea of drawing a parallel between architecture and fashion; investing a quality base of fine materials with original complements which change with the seasons and desires, as we would do it for a cupboard composed of a few qualitative basics. It’s a piece of advice I always give to my clients and which helps them to adopt the places.
What does inspire you?
Others, the people I meet, my daily life, trips, seasons… When I start a project for clients, I try to understand their needs and desires, to understand this little difference that will make it a made-to-measure project. I am in love with white punctuated of colours and patterns. I like straight, clear and logical things. Superfluous and total looks bore me.
Which object are you the proudest of?
For furniture, the dining table, bargain-hunted with its six chairs, in a perfect state! The room – in itself – I am the proudest of is Olivia’s bedroom and the bookshelf/wall which separates it from the rest of the house. If the rest of the apartment is rather black and white and quite sober, for her, it’s completely different. It’s a playground, the room where she grows up and which evolves at the same time as her. It’s a joyful and peaceful place, with a lot of things I made myself, such as the mobile above her bed, embroideries and cushions. The tipi was made by Equinox Studio as a birth gift. The mat is a handmade gift by her grandmother and so are the small rabbits.
What’s missing in your apartment?
What’s missing? One or two children! And a few more square metres, a great carpet in the living room and a wall lamp by Serge Mouille – which I dream of having. Besides that, I have everything I need. I have what’s essential and I feel lucky every day because I do what I love most in life.
You DIY a lot. Can you tell us more about your creations?
I am a tireless, curious and multifaceted person! My mom is a dressmaker who used to work for a great designer house and who passed on her taste for what’s handmade. I like the idea of doing something with my hands. It’s very satisfactory to see the final result and, above all, it’s perfect to relieve the stress after a day of work. It’s also a way of seeing things being fast made. In architecture, you often need to wait for several months, even years, before seeing what you designed on the paper come true. Two years ago, I also cofounded the Equinox Studio, together with two friends architects, which is a platform where we share our creative experiences and make personalised projects to order.
I like the idea of doing something with my hands. It’s very satisfactory to see the final result and, above all, it’s perfect to relieve the stress after a day of work.
Credits: Eve Campestrini – Translation: Textmaster @thesocialitefamily