Oro del Negro and Manuel Villaneuva of Deia architecture, design and landscaping company Moredesign were among the first people interviewed by this blog back in early 2015. When I heard that Moredesign had been commissioned to work on a new build project on land in Deia sold by Charles Marlow, it seemed like a good time to interview Oro and Manuel again.
First of all, I asked Charlie of Charles Marlow why he invited Moredesign to take on the new build. ‘Moredesign does exciting work,’ he told me. ‘They’re sensitive to traditional Mallorquin and Mediterranean architecture but they’re also innovators in the way they use space and raw materials. But it’s about more than that. Oro and Manuel of Moredesign have the experience of handling large projects as well as great connections with local craftsmen so they know how to get things done. I have the peace of mind that comes with knowing the people who have commissioned the new build are in truly safe hands. I can’t wait to see the result.’
Thanks Charlie. Now, over to Manuel and Oro of Moredesign. How’s business?
Without naming names, could you describe these interesting people?
Here’s one example, we’re lucky enough to be collaborating with a world-renowned painter who works with lime and other applications that were believed to have been forgotten. We’re also exploring ways of using materials from North Africa like tadelakt, a waterproof lime plaster, and earth adobe – a kind of mudbrick render – that fuse beautifully with the local architectural vernacular.
We’re also privileged to have strong relationships with local artisans who have incredible knowledge of traditional Mallorquin practice. One of the best things about what we do is learning something new from these people every day while playing our part in keeping their trades alive.
Why do you think you’re successful?
We believe people come to Deia seeking authenticity and something out of the ordinary and Moredesign gives them this. We offer an approach to architecture that’s full of detail, fun and hedonistic, simple yet rich. It’s a fusion between Mediterranean architecture, using traditional approaches and materials, and a contemporary approach to space.
Could you describe this approach in a little more detail?
Sure. We recently renovated a tafona. This is the name for a building in which an olive press is housed. We preserved the original features of the building intact – the stone, wood, ceramic, lime and so on – but lightened the space by adopting a ‘less is more’ approach. We introduced continuous surfaces, indirect lighting, pure lines and design simplicity.
We’re completing some substantial, highly individual, villa projects near Deia that we’re proud of. Soon we’ll be embarking on a really exciting, unconventional hotel project. This will be our chance to share big ideas that transcend architecture, with a high social and global impact.
Are you seeing any interesting trends in architecture and design you’d like to share?
To be honest, we don’t follow trends. We just love simple, timeless design, genuine craftsmanship and a sensitive use of raw materials. At the same time, innovation is always important.
Would you say there’s a specific approach to architecture, renovation and design in this part of Mallorca and, if so, what is it?
La Belmond Residencia in Deia has been the benchmark of luxury on this coast for the past two decades and for good reasons. It’s beautiful. But we’re studying the work of the great Mediterranean architects and tapping into the vast legacy of knowledge about ways of building here that has grown up over centuries so we can explore different approaches and offer a breath of fresh air.
How would you describe this vast legacy of knowledge?
For us, it’s all about blending in to the Mediterranean environment we and our clients love and avoiding standing out. There’s something satisfyingly understated and respectful in not making a big statement.
For us, less will have to be Moredesign. We’re becoming increasingly selective with the projects we take on because we were in danger of getting overwhelmed. It’s really hard to say no because we appreciate that people want to create something special and different and preserve the attention to detail that sets us apart. Having said this, we are expanding our team. We’re also launching Moredecor this season so we can offer people art pieces, furniture, soft furnishing, ceramics and homeware that both complement our work and bring a little More into their home.
You’re going to be working on a new build project where the plot was sold by Charlie of Charles Marlow. How did you get involved and how do you feel about the project?
We have a mutually beneficial and trusting work relation with Charles Marlow. New build projects are scarce in this part of the world so we feel extremely privileged to have been invited to get involved. Thank you, Charlie!
Does the relationship between Moredesign and Charles Marlow benefit buyers?
It certainly does. Here’s an example. Recently, a potential buyer was thinking about purchasing a property offered by Charles Marlow. Before they even saw the place, they asked Moredesign to prepare a very simple design concept. We did some sketches that showed the neglected potential of the house, which convinced the buyers to go ahead with the purchase. This is the perfect illustration of how early collaboration between an architect and real estate agent can really benefit a client.
Excellent. Thanks for your time, Manuel and Oro. I know you’re extremely busy.
Find out about Moredesign here.