Pioneering Minimalism at Villa Santanyi

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Pioneering Minimalism at Villa Santanyi


“Minimalism is not defined by what is not there but by the rightness of what is, and the richness with which this is experienced" - John Pawson

John Pawson is a British architect and designer known for his minimalist aesthetic and use of materials such as concrete, glass, and steel. Villa Santanyi was designed in the 1990’s as a holiday home for two German art-dealers, and is one of the earliest examples of Pawson's work.

The house features clean lines, a soft terracotta and neutral colour palette, and an emphasis on natural materials such as stone and concrete, which give the house a sense of solidity and grounding. The design maximises views of the surrounding landscape, and blurs the boundary between indoor and outdoor life.

The minimalist aesthetic of the Villa Santanyi is a signature of John Pawson's work, which seeks to strip down spaces to their essential elements and to create a sense of calm and simplicity. It is also a great example of how minimalism can create a sense of tranquility and balance.

Despite its recent popularity, Pawson has been quoted as saying that he doesn't use the term "minimalism" to describe his own aesthetic style, as he believes the term can be misinterpreted to mean having nothing in your home. Instead, he prefers to talk about his approach as choosing carefully what you have, and celebrating those pieces by not cluttering the home with too many other distractions. “I do believe that you don’t need more than is essential, and that is hard to define.”

Villa Santanyi is notable for its lack of wall art, which is surprising given the owners backgrounds in the art world. The unadorned design allows the gentle curves of the architecture to take centre stage, and the passages become spaces that are beautiful and interesting in their own right. The use of vertical skylights helps to bring natural light into the semi-open corridor that runs alongside the master suite. The owners explain that the clean, spiritual atmosphere of the house is so calming and restful that they don't miss the presence of art. Instead, they view the house as its own form of abstract art, with the constantly changing interplay of light, colour, and shadows providing a constantly shifting and evolving visual experience and an adventure in every sense.

Overall, the Villa Santanyi is a beautiful example of how design can reflect the local landscape and be both functional and aesthetically refined. The use of natural materials and the harmonious balance of light and space create a peaceful and serene environment, making it an ideal place for relaxation and contemplation.


Photography  — Renee Kemps

Design —  John Pawson

Location —  Mallorca, Spain


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