In Ontinyent, a one-time suburb of Valencia that is now at the centre of a burgeoning design hub, José Gandía-Blasco lives what he sells. In his five-storey home—which is annexed to the 1940s Rationalist-style factory his father built for the family furniture business and which remains the company’s flagship—the master of contemporary outdoor furniture is the embodiment of the Gandía Blasco brand. Quite like the mannequin who comes to life after the customers have gone home.
Uncomplicated in essence, the open layout is sliced and punched through in places to make even better use of that natural light. The effortless circulation of the space is inherited from the industrial mid-century architecture, but it also harks back to the aristocratic houses of 18th-century Spain. “I’ve always loved how the spaces flow in those big ancient palaces and I wanted to do the same in mine,” says José, “with tall doors that allow you to enjoy one big space after another at every level.” Central to the new plan is the “theatrical” concrete floating staircase in the living quarters—“the backbone of Casa Gandía Blasco,” says José. The furnishings and built-ins are trademark Gandía Blasco, arranged and whitewashed to look as though they are part of the architectural firmament. And just when you think there is nowhere appropriate to collapse in flip-flops with an inky newspaper and a tippy mug of tea, those nubbly knitted pouffes and rugs appear, sprawled across the floor. They go back to a collaboration in 2009 between Gandía Blasco and Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. And they restore one’s faith in the ultimate humanity of the strict modernist.