We talk to the design studio’s founder Alberto Cortes about creating spaces inspired by a lifetime of travel.
Found on the famous San Juan Road, the KsaR Living showroom is a treasure trove of bespoke and found design curiosities curated by self-proclaimed nomad Alberto Cortes. His experiences of living and travelling on four continents come to the fore in eclectic designs perfectly suited to Ibiza’s melting pot of cultures and nationalities.
Alberto believes the appetite for what he calls “holiday architecture” – spaces that aid relaxation – is strong on the island. It’s a consideration that guides the ethos of the interior design arm of KsaR Living, helping Alberto create luxury villas that tell stories to intrigue.
Why did you set up KsaR living?
I was born in Barcelona, brought up in Amsterdam and spent 11 years in India. Now I divide my time between Ibiza, Menorca, Marrakech, Barcelona and Indonesia. I’m multicultural and passionate about storytelling through my work. KsaR started when I met designer Yvonne Hulst and shifted my focus to interior design. We’ve travelled the world observing, learning and cultivating our style.
What does the name KsaR represent?
The translation of the word KsaR means ‘palace’, and that’s what I try to translate into every design project I undertake. Every client needs to feel like they are in their own castle, and they are the kings and queens of their kingdom. The homes that we create aim to lift them out of their daily routines.
How would you describe the creative energy on the island?
Ibiza is a special place, as everybody knows. And it’s the perfect home for KsaR. The mixture of cultures, designs and – most important – people, made Ksar what it is today.
You draw inspiration from your travels around the world. Is there anywhere in particular that you keep returning to for ideas?
Morocco and Indonesia for sure – two of my favourite places in the world. They bring me the inspiration to create new collections that I’ll take to Ibiza. The island already has its own style, but it needs to learn, like all of us, to adapt to the new times.
The aesthetics of certain countries can be quite different from each other. How do you tastefully mix styles?
This is a tricky question because it’s automatic and inherent to me. The most important thing is to visualise. If I see that something is not right in a particular setup, I visualise and try again until I’m satisfied.
“The homes that we create aim to lift people out of their daily routines.”
- Alberto Cortes
Finding talented craftspeople and suppliers is integral to KsaR’s design ethos – how do you source them and grow your connections?
It’s one of the most important tasks. My motivation to travel also works towards this. Every time I go to new places, I meet these craftsmen and women in markets, which is the starting point for my process.
Do you work with artisans on the island?
We work with different kinds of artisans, from lamp makers to ceramicists and are always open to working with new people to make bespoke furnishings, if we see that they fit with our KsaR style. My friend Edward van Vliet is a designer I particularly admire; his creations resonate deeply with me.
What do you mean by “holiday architecture” and how do you work it into your interior design projects?
I created this term to refer to a more relaxed design approach. Our design complements Ibiza’s carefree vibes. We want you to feel at home in your palace, but also like you are on holiday.
Why is design so important for emotional wellbeing?
You need to feel comfortable in your own place. Bad design can go against that objective. Including bespoke pieces is very important to us because not every space is the same nor is every client. It’s the details that help to accomplish the final goal and keep the client happy and satisfied. That’s the reward we want.