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Interview with Marina Senabre
N.: Hi Marina. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous project with us! We want you to feel free to express and talk about what best defines your work. We’ve prepared these questions, but please feel completely free to add whatever you need to communicate your project and your work.
N.: We are besotted with Menorca and having seen your last project – Casa E in Es Mercadal – we felt hugely drawn to the perception it transmits of living in an open space and in contact with nature, but in a very intimate way. Could you tell us about the concept behind your work?
M.S.: I’m so pleased the house is perceived that way because that is precisely what I wanted to transmit, being besotted with Menorca myself. The house is conceived as a conversation between two architectonic pieces. Two volumes which represent, on the one hand, the characteristic constructions and buildings on the island of Menorca and, on the other hand, contemporary architecture. A small piece with a gabled roof and another with a flat one look at each other and engage in a dialogue thanks to the language they both use: the composition and the aesthetic. The intention is to set up the contrast between the purity of the geometry and the rolling nature that surrounds the home and for the architecture to be seated on the landscape in a respectful way, blending in yet standing out at the same time. The Menorcan countryside manages to come into the house through the large square openings, like works of art on the wall that link it completely to the territory.
N.: Can you share any curious facts or an experience related to the process?
M.S.: Designing and building a house is a long process, which can stretch to a couple of years. That’s enough time for all the parts to change or evolve, so it’s a living process. It’s very interesting to do a project of this nature from start to finish because as an architect you acquire a great level of intimacy with the clients. One has to really know how a person lives to be able to create their house.
N.: What are your influences?
M.S.: My influences are very varied; in the end they are a collection of experiences and references that I’ve gathered over time, which may or may not be related to architecture. In the creative process, inspiration often comes from something that doesn’t have much to do with the project, like a film, a book or a photograph. At an architectonic level, my first great influence was probably the Modern Movement and I always carry that with me. In recent years, and increasingly so, I see myself reflected in Japanese, Scandinavian and Portuguese architecture, the latter reference is highly evident in Casa E. And of course Mediterranean architecture is always present in all my projects.
N.: Have you always had confidence in your style or is it something one learns over time?
M.S.: It is true that there is something of myself that can be recognised in all the projects, from the first Casa M in Ciutadella, eight years ago now. But I also believe in the importance of evolution as an exercise in personal and professional growth. So I suppose it’s a combination of both things: I’d like myself to be recognisable in my future projects and at the same time for the development in the trajectory to be readable. I’d like to continue exploring new paths, both at an aesthetic and technological level, and advance, for instance, towards increasingly environmentally friendly, efficient and sustainable architecture.
N.: Can you share more about your background and your education? What has made the greatest impression on you, contributing to creating the woman you are today?
M.S.: I studied architecture and then graphic design. I always wanted to study architecture but when I finished my degree I found myself in a moment when I needed to dig deeper into my creative side. So I wanted to delve into and learn more about geometry, proportion and composition, aspects I would later apply back to architecture. Both disciplines are closely related because in the end it’s about establishing relationships in a space that is either lived in or is read, developing concepts to then apply them, whether in a space or a book or a digital environment. However, although my career since my degree has made me grow exponentially each year both at a professional and a personal level, it would be very limiting to say that the woman I am today is a consequence of that period alone. The basis of who I am is thanks to my mother and my grandmother: two impressive women, way ahead of the times they lived in, who taught me how to relate to the world with equality and freedom. Today I am a woman in a world of men, which is still hard, but if I am equipped to move naturally in this context and to always continue to grow, it’s thanks to them.
N.: Beyond your profession, is there anything else you’re interesting in learning more about? Or any hobbies that steal your time?
M.S.: There are so many things I’d like to learn more about! I have an interest in all artistic expression: painting, photography, dance, music… I’m sure that at some point I’ll study for another degree, probably History of Art or Psychology. As I continue to grow, I find more and more importance in psychology, in trying to understand the human condition. In the end, life is people having relationships with other people (and with the earth and with animals). Human relationships – personal and professional – are the basis for everything. So many conflicts are simply a consequence of us not knowing how to understand one another, of the lack of empathy in a world that is increasingly moving away from the human scale and speed. I’d be very interested in learning in that sense; our heads are fascinating. In terms of my profession specifically, it seems fundamental to me: it’s essential to understand a person in order to design their house. Understanding “The House” as a translation of a way of inhabiting and understanding the world in a space that is as complex or as simple as a person can be.