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Drawing on influences from either side of the Atlantic, architect Gabriela Soleille explains why she pivoted from upscale retail to crafting Ibizan homes.

Pulling together opposing yet complementary styles and sensibilities, Gabriela Soleille has made a career of sophisticated, playful and unexpected design. “I’m half French, half Mexican, so I like to add some magic and spice to my projects,” she smiles.

An alumnus of renowned architecture school ENSA Paris-Belleville, Gabriela’s first role was at French luxury conglomerate LVMH, working on interior architecture projects with its in-house design team. “My style is the project’s style,” explains Gabriela, who worked across North America and Hawaii alongside notable figures including architect Peter Marino. “Collaborations help you to push your boundaries,” Gabriela explains. “Suddenly, it’s not just about you and you’re out of your comfort zone.”

One such project involved creating a cinema inside Louis Vuitton’s flagship store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. “It gave me a taste of excellence,” Gabriela recalls. “We were working with the most beautiful materials, and the most incredible details.”

Next came Dior, where Gabriela worked directly with Bernard Arnault, the esteemed businessman and art collector who heads the group. An innovative blend of art and engineering, the sheer scale of the projects meant they took on a life of their own. For Gabriela, they also provided the opportunity to combine creativity with business acumen.

As Architect Director at The Collective Studio Amsterdam, she was later able to prove that considered design can boost the rental value of upscale retail units. Her work has taken her around the world, but Gabriela has chosen Ibiza as her home, and the base for her eponymous studio. “People have a real passion for design here – so you can bring beautiful values to your properties,” she explains. “The island has a natural connection with an international scene.” Take Otto – a compact but considered residential project which Gabriela worked on in Ibiza’s Sa Carroca neighbourhood.

“During the process, the client fell in love with one of the Netherlands’ biggest designers – Monique des Bouvrie.” Ever keen to collaborate, Gabriela forged a creative partnership to produce a home that is serene, sophisticated and elevated further by considered styling from Monique. “It was a lot of fun. We became close friends.”

The project uses natural light to enliven refined details. A poured concrete dining area is crowned with knotted wood beams. Raised doorways with soft curves create distinct spaces and a sense of cocooned comfort. The pièce de résistance, daylight pours through a shower skylight onto a curving wall finished in textural render.


“Collaborations help you to push your boundaries. Suddenly, it’s not just about you and you're out of your comfort zone.”

“People care much more,” Gabriela says of residential work. “You go deeper into the detail, so it’s more difficult than a commercial project.” Gabriela’s careful hand has also elevated projects by Romano Arquitectos, Blakstad and Ibiza Interiors, as well as Finca Mirabelle by Bloom Studio. Here she finalised the interior and outdoor styling, and designed handcrafted furniture specifically for the pergola.

“I push the boundaries of materials,” she says. Blending the intersections between architecture and interiors, her studio produces spaces with a coherent narrative consistent throughout the scheme. Favouring bespoke items over designer pieces, Gabriela’s projects are finished with custom-made furniture. “Today you visit a beautiful house and suddenly, you can name all the furniture. It’s such a pity when you can walk around a Mexican market and find that special chair, or I can design a client their perfect table and build it myself.”

Upcoming plans include a multi-concept gallery in the San Mateo countryside, opening just before CAN Art Fair in June. “My dream is to have a gallery space centred on design, books, furniture and art,” Gabriela says of the project. A summer pop-up that will stay open as a showroom, the space will spotlight her best furniture pieces along with the work of other key artists and designers.

“I used to say I’m a Mexican brutalist – with big lines and big volumes – but this doesn’t describe all my work.”

While cultural and stylistic anchors can be helpful, Gabriela believes they should never be limiting. “I used to say I’m a Mexican brutalist – with big lines and big volumes – but this doesn’t describe all my work,” she says. “Glass is part of my identity too.” Destined for creativity, her grandfather was an eminent artist in France who advanced the design and processes of stained-glass windows. For the 2022 World Cup, Gabriela embraced the medium of glass to create a towering display at the entrance of a Fendi store in Doha.

Her commercial career aside, Gabriela is drawn to the ability design has to express identity. It’s no surprise then that crafting people’s homes holds a special place in her heart. “There’s a real human relationship there,” she says. “You’ll be part of the family by the end of the project.”