28th Mar 2018
After two years of feverish activity La Bellesa has settled serenely into the Serra de Tramuntana mountainside. Its low profile and multi-level habitation lends itself to the rolling landscape. Embraced by a clutch of dry stone walls, the property mirrors the ‘marges’ of the rural Mallorca beyond.
La Bellesa is the product of much hard work and commitment from the ‘Barr Baleares’ team. Traditional workmanship, careful planning and ultimate attention to detail have been poured into every inch of La Bellesa, ensuring a look in tune with the rich Mallorcan cultural aesthetic and finish detail second to none.
Asked by a UK client to undertake a large-scale build on the island of Mallorca, Stuart and his family decided to make a temporary move to the island. The project was in a fantastic location: a villa within a couple of streets from the centre of the village of Esporles but set apart by its steep slopes. Esporles offers its own charming Mallorquin lifestyle, with a handful of bars and restaurants providing a community hub. The villa was just crying out to be enhanced to its full potential. Readily accepting the challenge (we doubt there was any arm-twisting required!) Stuart says “It was a bit like turning the clock back a decade. Charlie was in the back office running the administrative side, dealing with HR, accounts and operations and I was on site, with sleeves rolled up, involved in every last detail of the build”.
A couple of other figures proved completely invaluable to the La Bellesa build project. Pedro Bedrán handled planning, amenities, site issues and guided the team in Stuart's unavoidable absences (demands from the Barr Group back home!). With a headcount of up to 60 skilled workmen and labourers on site at one time, this was no mean feat. Barr Group Interior Designer Rachele Bowley was the creative mind behind the La Bellesa interior. Sharing Stuart’s vision for an essentially raw and mallorquín aesthetic but with a feel of easy luxury, Rachele produced vision boards and detailed plans for every part of the villa, personally sourcing every fixture and furnishing down to the very last sombrero! “Rachele’s work is superb” says Stuart “she doesn’t leave a stone unturned; not just designing but sourcing, procurement, overseas delivery and finish styling - absolutely nothing was left to chance.”
The results are breathtaking. Every structural beam, stone wall and metal framed aperture are perfectly aligned; runners and thresholds of pebble-inlaid cement divide open plan spaces, taking the eye through structural sight lines and zoning of open plan areas inside and out. Internal walls are a combination of textured ‘set plaster’ paint finishes, pebble-cement inlay, dry stone feature walls and rough sawn wooden paneling. Linen, rattan, hessian and cotton voile soften the matt black metal, which marches confidently through the villa, bringing clear lines and structure to every space.
Taking a closer look at the detail, an 8mm shadow gap between tile plinth and plaster accentuates the clean lines. Ceiling beams are perfectly aligned with apertures - metal plates running through the Crittal screened cross-sections - blending walls with doors and windows.
Outside, stone retaining walls and steps frame the one-hundred-and-sixty-foot climb from the lower entrance to the hot-tub terrace above. At the hands of a fantastic team of Moroccan stone workers rock were extracted on-site, broken, split and ‘bashed’ to produce a textured face. Each stone is then individually placed into the giant jigsaw that makes up the drystone wall. Traditional Mallorcan planting, designed and orchestrated by a local landscape gardener, is already making its home amongst the marges and the individual terraces which adjoin each of the villa’s eight suites.
The La Bellesa workforce was a truly multinational crew, utilising specialist skills from around the globe. Local trades from nearby villages, skilled craftsmen from the UK, Moroccan stone workers and many more, became part of the team. Designed by BarrJoinery and BarrKitchens, items of cabinetry and furnishing were hand made in Esporles. Locally manufactured tiles by Huguet give each bathroom its own individual character, set off the simple luxury of the black Lusso Stone fixing and lighting from Holloways of Ludlow amongst others. In fact, fixtures, fittings and furniture procurement was complete mix of local, gold-dust finds and specialist manufacturers from all over the globe.
“Everything I have learnt over the past 20 years in the industry has been poured into La Bellesa” says Stuart. “Proportions, positioning and alignment are important to me as a joiner and cabinet maker and I have been able to express these practically in every aspect of the villa. Bringing to that local techniques and materials has made the project interesting and unique. I am very proud of the whole team. I am sure I am not always an easy person to work for, particularly on a project so close to my heart. The end result speaks for itself and I hope that many people will enjoy it for years to come".