Having recently launched an exteriors arm, founder and creative director Jurjen van Hulzen reflects on the studio’s expanding horizons.
“Designing the new Mediterranean”. That’s what Jurjen van Hulzen, the Dutch creative director and interior architect at the helm of , is on a mission to do. As brand statements go, it’s an apt way to describe the essence of many of the projects the practice has brought to life during its nine years on the island.
Take Casa del Árbol, a villa in harmony with the surrounding woodlands, where natural textures and tones seep inside. Or Can Ladera, where pared-back design revels in simplicity and lets the finca’s rustic framework shine. Both buildings enhance the alchemy of their idyllic settings.
“Ibiza is really all about the lifestyle – the relationship between the landscaping, the view and the positioning towards the sun.”
From its inception, the studio set out to take island style back to its roots. Its origin story begins like many others on Ibiza: with a holiday that didn’t end. “To be honest, we didn’t really plan to move here,” Jurjen admits. “But a visit turned into a long-term rental, and then we basically never left.”
Seduced by the lifestyle and the connection to nature, Jurjen could see the potential in opening an architectural practice and furniture store here – an umbrella company for businesses he’d already established in Amsterdam. There was, he felt, a gap in the Ibiza market for high-quality interior design that embraced its surroundings.
He was right. Nearly a decade on, the studio is busier than ever. In the last year, the team has doubled – rapidly outgrowing its existing premises in the process. Recently settled into a new space near San Lorenzo, the expanded workforce is also expanding its horizons. Interior architecture is now complemented by architecture, project development and decoration: the full turn-key package. The most recent string to the Ibiza Interiors bow is exteriors. Not that it’s really a new thing, Jurjen points out.
“We love old fincas and there we’ll use Sabina wood, old stone flooring and lime-based stucco. Whereas in more modern projects we use more ‘luxury’ materials like travertine, walnut and brass”
The evolution to landscapes, was, for want of a better word, organic. “We started to do a terrace, a porch, a bit of the garden, a yoga deck. So, it sort of grew,” he reflects. The team now has two landscape designers. “It’s great that we can do fully integrated projects. We can come in as the creative director and lead designer of the whole thing – interiors, architecture, landscaping.”
Jurjen sees interiors and exteriors as part of one ecosystem. “For the design, it’s so important to get that integration. It makes both interiors and exteriors better because there’s an intention there. Ibiza is really all about the lifestyle – the relationship between the landscaping, the view and the positioning towards the sun. That alone gives a lot of information about how a project should look, because first it needs to function in a basic sense before you can really design it.”
Currently, the portfolio mainly spans mostly residential, but with a hotel and some hospitality projects in the mix. Whatever the building in question though, natural materials are used as much as possible for their timelessness. “We like it basic,” concedes Jurjen, somewhat reluctant to attach a ‘trademark style’ to the studio. “Concrete floors, off-white walls and natural linens – the materials we use are very honest and natural.”
The new office is a case in point: large windows flood the space with light. Outside, a terrace is skirted by wildflowers. The finish is a reflection of the brand’s aesthetic – and the ability of an environment to influence the collective mood.
For this reason, a sense of place is also integral to the Ibiza Interiors ethos. “We always look at the location, orientation, archetypes and the style of architecture, if there is one,” explains Jurjen. “Certain houses really ask for a specific style. We love old fincas and there we’ll use Sabina wood, old stone flooring and lime-based stucco. Whereas in more modern projects we use more ‘luxury’ materials like travertine, walnut and brass.”
It’s an approach that comes back to an intuitive understanding of what the island is all about. “I feel people are increasingly drawn to the essence of Ibiza rather than making something wild that doesn’t belong here,” muses Jurjen. “As designers, we should also celebrate this and create pure projects that really fit. It’s a beautiful feeling to succeed in creating atmospheric projects that really give you that experience.”
As for the future, the Ibiza Interiors retail department – which is attached to the former studio – is in line to get an overhaul. “The next step is to redo the whole showroom,” says Jurjen. “We’re going to get new furniture, new art – the plan is to host events there.”
Designing the new Mediterranean? Jurjen’s got it down to a fine art.