Arianna Lucarella is a highly successful interior designer based in Mallorca who combines a truly Balearic sensibility with abundant experience. I spoke to her about how island life shapes her approach to design and what Mallorca interior design means for her clients.
When you’re building, renovating or redesigning a home in Mallorca, it’s only natural to want to create something in tune with life on the island.
Like most of us who live here, I think I have a pretty good idea of what Mallorca interior design is. But I’m an amateur. I was curious to hear the thoughts of an expert. So I talked to my friend, interior designer Arianna Lucarella. Arianna, who was raised in Ibiza, has been an interior designer in Mallorca for the past 16 years. She embodies the Balearic sensibility and has plenty of experience creating homes on the island.
Living and breathing Mallorca interior design
I spoke to Arianna as she was in the last stages of what she told me had been a particularly challenging project, one which she was proud to have been involved with.
Who are your clients, Arianna?
No matter how they made their money, they’re all people who have achieved their dream of being able to create a home in Mallorca. I make their dream come true but in a practical way by understanding them, the house they intend to transform into their home and what they want to achieve.
Do you specialise in any particular kind of architecture?
Not at all. My clients can be purists who really embrace traditional island style as well as Mallorca interior design. They’ll choose a property that represents what this island is: stone walls, tiles, typical fig and palm trees as well as plants like bougainvillea. Or they may well have purchased a super-modern villa integrated into the Mallorca landscape.
How do you usually work with them?
My clients get involved in a project as little or as much as they wish. Some might be as interested in the practical side of things as they are in the aesthetics. Installing an amazing sound system throughout the house, let’s say. Because I spend time studying them, I learn where they especially want to focus and adjust the way I work to make sure we create a harmonious relationship.
How much of a finished interior is you and how much your clients?
I will do my best to influence a client if it’s right for the project but ultimately, of course, it’s their decision. And it’s actually always nice to be influenced by a client myself. For instance, I’m working on a project right now and my client would like a particularly colourful picture, which is not to my taste, I trusted her to go for it.
What would you say people should consider when they’re designing a home in Mallorca?
In Mallorca, and throughout the Balearics, it’s really about appreciating the relationship between light and colour. We’re blessed with the most wonderful light here and this gives us the freedom to be adventurous with colour. Use colour, I say! The island and its architecture can take it.
We have beautiful stone on the island and I would encourage people to work with it. It’s the same with large expanses of wood. Ours is the kind of architecture that allows for a unique blend of modern and rustic. I love to combine large wooden doors, tables, and floors with delicate venetian stucco or use decorative painting to enhance walls, or mix thin frame iron windows, polished cement and hydraulic tiles. My job is to make sure all these elements coexist perfectly in the space.
How has being brought up in Ibiza influenced you?
Apart from having a natural feel for what will work best in the Balearics, I’d say it’s allowed me to be a little more bohemian and hippy in my approach. I can be spontaneous and playful as well as professional. This enables me to build relationships of trust with my clients, which in turn gives me a huge amount of freedom to push the boundaries. If that’s what they would like.
Could you attempt to define your own approach to Mallorca interior design?
I’m all for freedom. If I see a trend developing, this is precisely where I don’t want to go. I always want to be fresh and original.
What does that mean right now?
Here’s one example. I’ve turned away from buying super-sophisticated readymade furniture, the kind of brands you’d see at somewhere like a Milan furniture fair. Instead, I’m designing pieces myself and working with small companies on the island who will make them by hand using Mallorquin materials and fabrics.
How do you find these craftsmen?
To be honest, it comes down to intuition. I search for designers who I trust to give life to a particular piece. It’s a lot of effort but I’ve now found a carpenter that can read my mind, which is fantastic.
You have to be able to put your trust in your interior designer. The golden rule is to not be afraid to ask for as much information as you need to understand where they want to take you with their creativity. Always make sure you’re getting all the plans, visuals and samples you need to be sure that your dream will come true.
Last question: why do you love living in Mallorca?
It’s a place that allows me to do a tremendous amount of work but still feel free to have time for myself. This is because I’m energised by the island. It doesn’t soak up my energy.
The size of the place also means that everything feels so effortless. When I want to go to yoga, for example, suddenly I land next to my yoga studio. Things seem to appear spontaneously, which makes it so easy to hook up with friends. It would be very hard to have this lifestyle in a big city.
And if I ever come close to feeling stressed I just look out the window and see an amazing amount of beauty.
Thank you, Arianna.