The Mar Adentro hotel (project by Miguel Ángel e Rafael Aragonés, Juan Vidaña, Pedro Amador, Alba Ortega) is a high-end hospitality facility and a tribute to light and horizons, with spaces organized around a water court treated as a direct extension of the ocean faced by the whole construction.
The plan reminds us of the project by Louis Kahn for the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla, California (1959-65), on the same coast many miles further north.
As in that masterpiece, the white volumes of Mar Adentro, arranged diagonally at balanced intervals, create a perspective towards the horizon, which is framed and enhanced by the architecture.
In this case the hard plaza has been replaced by a reflecting pool – “the horizon drawn into the foreground,” as the designers put it – crossed by a sinuous path that connects the various parts and leads to the artificial island designed as a perfect elliptical pavilion of woven branches.
This feature makes reference to the tradition of spontaneous architecture and functions as a successful contrast to the entire compositional system, containing an outdoor restaurant and emerging from the whiteness of the abstract, absolute volumes of the hotel that surround it.
The buildings that form a careful sequence of rooms and spaces have been conceived as ‘containers’ for room-cells of variable size, modules developed in an almost independent way together with Poliform.
For the hotel, this company of reference for Italian design has supplied furniture and complete rooms to assemble at the site, in keeping with a new logic of production and installation. The facades of the various blocks reflect this strict modular approach in their regular geometric sequence of openings, corresponding to the habitat cells.
The grid, however, gets modified in everyday use when the guests arrive, as the curtains of the loggias are raised and the lights of the rooms, in the evening, form an evocative iridescent mosaic that reflects in the pool.
The essential abstract forms of the hotel of the Encanto Group opened in 2016 have now been joined by exclusive waterfront villas, part of the controlled design of the whole, complementary to the overall arrangement of the hotel.
The villas continue with the geometric figure of reference – the compact, solid volume of the fronts facing the land and open with full-height windows, screened by pale roller blinds – towards the pool on which they seem to ‘rest,’ which brings the horizon of the sea ‘inside.’
The overall layout of the hotel and villas forms a sort of magical archipelago where canals and walkways that seem to float connect the various spaces encased in simple, immediately recognizable geometric forms.
The whole project is based on a residential module conceived to be used and multiplied with various options; half of the module is the standard hotel room, while as a whole it becomes an apartment; if another half is added, a suite with two bedrooms appears, and two complete modules placed together form a three-bedroom suite, and so on.
This system of spatial multiplication corresponds to volumetric growth, connected with a harmonious pattern of control, also optimizing the complex project by Poliform (fixed and mobile furnishings, doors, wood floors and panels, showers and kitchen corners) that then extends outdoors with Exteta outdoor furnishings for the terraces and verandas.
An ‘other’ place where, as Aragonéss says: “light functions as an element of transformation, modifying the scale and volumes of the space and our perception of them. With the sun as the light sources, the daylight constantly changes its tones and colors, while the night sky is reflected and doubled in the pool, like an enormous second volume.
Photos Joe Fletcher/courtesy Poliform – Article Matteo Vercelloni