Isabel López Vilalta, prestigious interior designer of houses, hotels, shops and offices, is, above all, a major expert in areas of restoration. Among her most famous projects is El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona.
Isabel, is the extraordinary freshness of your projects a reflection of the environment you breathe in your study?
Exactly! I like playing on a team. To make the most of the members responsible for the project. To work with enthusiasm and dedication and turn our work into a pleasurable activity. As if I were an orchestra conductor, I like to highlight the most beautiful sound of each instrument. The team is formed by people of different ages and circumstances, which makes us complete and enrich each other. What should be the main mission of an interior designer? Helping people to be happier. When arrive at home is a pleasure that makes your life easier and simpler. Simplicity and comfort have always seemed essential requirements to be able to inhabit our homes. Pragmatism is also essential. Perhaps in the past it was given less importance, but things have to be able to be used easily without abandoning beauty. The same is true when you arrive at your office. And if it is a hotel, the objective should be that the stay there remains in your memory as something special or extraordinary.
What role does light play – whether natural or artificial – in a project?
Light is fundamental in a project. There are times when the important thing is to filter it, to protect you from excess light and sun, especially in the Mediterranean, when it comes to natural light. At other times it is important that this element floods the entire space. Artificial light serves to create different environments of relaxation or comfort. And, above all, to emphasise what you want to highlight. Your special interest in creating interiors for hotels and restaurants is due to… It seems that it was my destiny to design restaurants. I had just finished the design studies program at the ELISAVA school in Barcelona, they gave me an award for an academic project in a restaurant. That encouraged me to continue working with enthusiasm. I was fortunate enough to participate in design for my the first eighteen years at the Tragaluz Group, such emblematic projects as the now-defunct El Japonés restaurant or the representative Hotel Omm, both in Barcelona. The opportunity to co-design the restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, which has for many years been the best restaurant in the world, also crossed my professional path.
A private residence is a demanding challenge. Why?
Indeed, designing a home is a very demanding challenge. Some of our decisions may depend on the happiness of our customers. There must be an important connection between our team and the residents of the house. If there is , it is very rewarding and we gain some friends.
Do they ever give you carte blanche to carry out a project?
If they give us carte blanche it is when a relationship of total trust exists. Then we feel both – both the client and our team – very satisfied with the result, whether in residential or commercial projects.
In her project The Art of Living, the studio of Isabel López Vilalta converted, after a comprehensive renovations, an old art gallery into a showroom of high-end appliances and space for gastronomic and cultural experiences.