The house, source of happiness: the advice that experts forget

There is an Israeli American university professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, who successfully gives talks around the world explaining what are the tips that we must observe to be happier and enjoy the physical and mental health that this state of mind entails to people and societies.
Among the tips that Tal Tal points to, we find obvious things, interesting things and some surprising details. It is obvious that exercising every day, feeding properly and being kind to others helps to forge a Feliciano temperament.

Photographs of TR House, project of PMMT Arquitectes, Technal prize, photos Pedro Pegenaute courtesy Technal.

It is interesting to know that it also helps to be assertive, to spend money on experiences and not on things and to face face challenges. What is more surprising of these thirteen tips that the author gives us is that which refers to comfortable footwear as one of the recipes to achieve this degree of interior satisfaction to which we all have a right, once basic needs are met. Squeezing shoes, of course, are not a good principle to undertake the day with the goal to be happy.
I find it slightly disturbing that an expert on the subject of happiness down to the ideological chasms of the feet to find the enemy to fight. Will it have any interest in benefiting the shoemakers lobby if there is this lobby in the bulky American political system? Will it be the product of a bad experience with a bunion?

Our dear friend, the successful speaker, has forgotten to include in his thirteen councils a source of essential happiness, inexhaustible and inescapable as is the home. A cozy home that does not press the feet, the back or the mind. A space to live alone or in pleasant company, comfortable and bright where we feel ourselves better than anywhere else. In fact, this description coincides with the objectives of the first designers of the modern home, the Eames couple, who made their own home an example of harmony and good taste. Look where, we have already found a direct link between design and happiness.


When an interior designer talks with his clients to find out what they need in their new residence or in the reform of the former, what it does is an analysis of the factors of environmental happiness that will provide them. In their hands are the elements that, wisely combined, will become the scenery of a love film with a happy ending every day, at night, when the light goes out.


The well-equipped and decorated house increases our happiness; we do not have the slightest doubt. We generously offered the advice of the fourteen to the experts because, surely, they lacked something and did not quite find it.

Urban gardens for castaways in the big city

Have you seen The Martian, Ridley Scott's latest film? Poor Matt Damon is left alone in a lost station on the red planet and, like good Robinson, you have to look for life to survive. He uses all his scientific skills to create a small potato garden that allows him not to starve.



I can not help remembering this and other sci-fi movies, where the recurrent space garden appears, every time I meet a small, committed and rebellious urban garden. The first I met was the ingenious Leopoldo, based on plastic bags as arable shelves. It was one of the must-haves of the ever-advancing Vinçon. Then many other modular gardens have appeared, about to harvest, waiting for the urbanite with a bad conscience to put them in motion.




Currently there is a flourishing industry around this successful idea that moves containers, special substrates, seeds of plants dwarfs, workshops, workshops and specialists. The urban garden, as its passionate defenders say, is more than growing baby tomatoes on the balcony. It's a lifestyle.

Leopoldo de Santa & Cole, the first modular garden


It is obvious that the carrot or the strawberries grown in a little terrace garden are infinitely more expensive than those we can find in the corner super. But, they do not know so well. They do not matter the e effort, care, special fertilizers, programmed irrigations and all the paraphernalia that the urban gardens ask for … it's a tremendous expenditure of energy that the fans turn into an addictive pastime and, therefore, it's worth it.


Urban garden of Leroy Merlin


There is something of a castaway in the big city in this eagerness to return to the agricultural roots, to dirty the hands of earth and to see how the vegetables grow from the bud to the table. There is a nostalgic look back and also a certain sense of helplessness in the dehumanized urban life. Although we have not entered into this exciting world of home-grown culture, we look with envy on our friend's ecological salad and, above all, the brightness of his eyes that show us his last harvest.
We must try …

The Creative Team: avoid style to start each project from scratch

The components of the Creative Team explain in the interview published this month in the magazine PROJECT CONTRACT that they work their projects as if they were sets, trying to tell something about the space and they love to check that their clients explain their premises to those who visit them . Following is an excerpt from the interview with the three designers and architects


Oliver Franz Schmidt, Natali Canas del Pozo and Lucas Echeveste, the three components of The Creative Team, interviewed by Project Contract.


It all started with the Ticket restaurant project for Ferràn and Albert Adrià and the Iglesias brothers. When we projected that space we were not even The Creative Team. We were several independent professionals who joined us for this work. Ferràn called Oliver and asked him for a new tapas restaurant in Barcelona that was very special. He suggested that he form a team with different professional profiles because he wanted to open a singular space, different from everything that was known in the city. And in this simple way, the study was formed.
Does this first work lead you to continue in the world of design for restoration?
Absolutely. The Tickets project allowed us to specialize, become knowledgeable about the problem of restoration spaces and this allows us to provide a very precise service. The specialization, however, has its advantages and disadvantages, because it is also healthy to reach a fresh sector, without preconceived ideas. In fact, that was the great contribution of our first project, together. We have tried to maintain that freshness in other jobs we have done afterwards. We like to always start from scratch, give an answer with our design. We make the effort so that it is especially on a visual level but we also try that at a technical level we are not afraid of the challenges of a new venue.


One Ocean interior
You like the dialogue with the client …
We love … at the beginning of work, when it is in a conceptual phase, we like to have a constant exchange with customers, a kind of dialectical ping-pong. In addition, we continually provoke it to favor this constructive dialogue. We do the projects for our clients, thinking about them.
Do not have a style of our own?
We do not want to have a style of our own that identifies us and forces us to repeat patterns. We avoid it because it is our work philosophy. Every time you have to start from scratch. It is more laborious but also keeps us active and learning continuously. And, in this way, the work does not become repetitive because when you specialize a lot you can get a little bored. We come from the world of architecture and maybe that is why our work methodology is to approach each project from its specificities and try with our design to give personality to each space, to differentiate it within its particular qualities. We try to run away from the stylistics

Ikibana from El Equipo Creativo, the strength of wood in a place that fuses Japan and Brazil
Do you think that experience as architects is a plus in your interior design work?
] I do not know, but we always focus the work from a more architectural point of view to give the answer. We work extensively on distributions and we try to create original, new and surprising spaces, within the functional limitations and available meters. We try to invent the way to access, to sit, the bars, activate the space. We draw the plants and redraw until they are very crushed. It is our way of facing a new project.
Do you collaborate with other professionals to give a complete service or integrate them in the study?
We prefer external collaborations. Our own name already expresses that idea of ​​a team of professionals. Normally we collaborate with graphic designers, with "lighting designers" and professionals from other disciplines, and we continuously learn from them all. We believe in specialization and try to work with related teams.

Tickets, the premises of Albert Adriá in the Parallel of Barcelona
They also value the design …
Yes. They begin to give great importance to design and that is positive for the entire sector … our work will be increasingly recognized and we will be able to do more interesting things. Clients understand how important a good design is for their business and they are able to understand that an important investment in a study that does things well is worthwhile, it gives an added value to the business. And then comes a prize or a publication and that also adds up, a photogenic space makes it present in networks and people talk.
Those are the most suggestive projects …
Yes. We started by talking a lot with the customers. The basis of our work is that at the beginning we investigate a lot, we open our range of visual references, we try not to look at other projects so as not to be contaminated, to be original, to propose something that we have not done before and, as far as possible, that is unpublished. When a client arrives with that expectation we do a good job and when he asks us for something similar to another local we try to read between the lines to offer him something special.
Are you looking for those sensations in your projects?
We try to avoid style and create atmospheres. For this we try that our references do not come directly from the world of the profession but from other disciplines. Art, culture, crafts, history, landscapes, music, fashion … any influence is good outside the scope of our profession. For the Pakta we are inspired by the world of artisan looms. In the Ikibana we have mixed the Brazilian rainforest with the Japanese ikebana.
Interior of the Blue Wave, project of The Creative Team

THE CREATIVE TEAM. Oliver Franz Schmidt, Natali Canas del Pozo and Lucas Echeveste Lacy. Ramón Turró 11, 5º. 08005 Barcelona. T. 932 216 875.. Contributors : Néstor Veloso, Anna Martínez Salom, Cristòfol Tauler, Savina Radeva, Cristina Huguet, Anna Serra, Juan Marcos Feijóo, Clara Manchón, Mireia Gallego.
Interview: Marcel Benedito.
Photographs: Adrià Goula.
Courtesy of the Proyecto Contract magazine.

The fact that the pink color is trend was serious

The Gallerie the main restaurant of the eclectic and emblematic Sketch space in London has been completely renovated by the interior designer India Mahdavi recreating a provocative space of bourgeois atmosphere strangely tinged with pink. As if Barbie had decided to dedicate to the decoration to fall in love again with the good of Kent. The project, in addition, has been awarded with the distinction to the best space in the United Kingdom by the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards last year.


The space serves as a backdrop of the work of artists who renovate the walls periodically, as it was conceived at the time. So every visit to The Gallerie is a surprise. The images show the work of the British artist David Shrigley: 239 works that make up the largest group exhibited by this artist. The classic and almost bourgeois design of the restaurant invites to experience a deliberately playful contrast with works of art; nothing is what it seems.



India Mahdavi was born in Tehran to an Egyptian mother and Iranian father, spent her childhood between Massachusetts, New York, Heidelberg, Vence and Paris. The designer is like her style: polyglot and polychrome. Mahdavi graduated in architecture, industrial design, graphic design and furniture design, before becoming the artistic director of Christian Liaigre for seven years. He studied in Paris in 1999 and worked on his first projects in London, New York, Miami, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Milan, Sydney and Mexico. His signature has become a reference for renowned hotels and restaurants such as Condesa in Mexico, Rivington in New York, Monte Carlo Beach in Monaco, the Coburg bar and the Hélène Darroze restaurant in the Connaught in London, suites in the Claridge in London, Hôtel Thoumieux in Paris, the Hôtel du Cloître in Arles, Café Français in Paris.





The Gallerie in Sketch in London, project of India Mahdavi. Photos courtesy Restaurant & Bar Design Awards

El Pintón: a fresh and current approach to the Sevillian patio

El Pintón is, without doubt, one of the most interesting spaces that we have received in the Contract Project magazine in recent months. It is a place in the heart of Seville, two steps from the Giralda. It is part of what were the Peyre warehouses, the work of Aníbal González.


The studio Lucas y Hernández-Gil has tried to link the strong presence of tradition with a contemporary and fresh approach to the Sevillian patio. Moldings and plasters added in previous interventions were eliminated to leave the raw original textures, finished with lime mortar. The different spaces have been unified with a frieze, pavement and wooden roof. Decorative resources are entrusted to materials, textures and light. Playing with filters, reflections, glazes that tint both the natural light that bathes the patio and artificial lighting.


The space of 350 m2 has different atmospheres and is articulated around the patio, which stands out for an ambiguous character between interior and exterior, which has been reinforced with vegetation, garden furniture, garlands and lanterns of lights and shading with a cloth of camouflage.



El Pintón: Calle Francos, 42, 41004 Sevilla
Telephone: 955 07 51 53
Project: Lucas and Hernández – Gil Arquitectos
Photographs: Juan Delgado
Courtesy: Proyecto Contract