Xavier Corbero’s home, Barcelona
Xavier Corbero designs not to create a structure – or object – per se, but to make poetry. There might be a home or a piece of art in tangible form at the end of his work process, but it is the ‘divine’ that he’s most interested in. His residence, which the Catalan sculptor and architect has been perfecting for decades (from dilapidated structures) is most certainly that. The 10-bath, 10-bed house which he’s opened to artists from all over the world transcends architecture into something quite magical, full of fantasy, and absolutely inspiring.
Visually, the estate, which sits in the Barcelona suburb of Esplugues de Llobregat, is an elegant, modernist home but which also speaks strongly of the surreal (he was friends with Salvador Dali, we might add). Though clean lines and the modern aesthetic are definitely prevailing in the house, the various spaces, including studios, living areas, artist residences, galleries, and a subterranean workshop, seem to blend into one another organically and the result is almost labyrinth-like, a maze of levels and rooms joined by stairs and cut-outs. Arches, which are a defining feature, again add to the modern tone and yet the way they are repeated throughout the house – in windows, doorframes, in the courtyard, adds to the dream-like feel in the house. Looking through one arch leads you to another space, through to another, and so on. Glass and concrete, the dominating materials, work together to create a delicate kind of modernity, strong but gentle at the same time, but also make the house feel like a sculpture in itself. The form, full of angles and unconventionally shaped rooms, also adds to this ‘house-as-art’ quality. The play of light and addition of pools of water, greenery and carefully placed art pieces – many of his own marble and basalt creations, add to the overall sense of artistry and trickery, or magic, that is present every way you turn.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, the estate being built slowly over 40 years by someone who values ‘poetry’ over ‘reason’, that it feels other-worldly. Being in it, we can only imagine, must feel like stepping into the mind of Corbero. And what a wonderful thing that would be.