Cover The living area features a pair of custom-made coffee tables designed by Bustos, one of which sports an unusual iridescent base, while the other was crafted with pink terrazzo tiles from Huguet Mallorca (Photography: Manolo Yllera)

Spanish designer Patricia Bustos crafted a vibrant and joyful home in Madrid for a cosmopolitan couple. Take a cue from its fun use of colour here

The namesake founder of Patricia Bustos Studio considers three elements in all her projects: surprise, singularity, and the senses. “Novelty is magnetic; when we find it, we feel excited,” declares Bustos.

“With the ‘new’, the pleasure increases, the senses are sharpened, and curiosity is awakened. We like the challenge of creating something new that makes the person who perceives the space remember it in a more special way through their senses. Our spaces are truly unique and intended for the purpose of each project, whether it is an individual’s home or a business.”

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This 1,506sqft apartment in Madrid certainly embodies all of those qualities. The home of a young Mexican couple, the apartment is located in one of the city’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, along Don Ramón de la Cruz. Housed in a building first constructed in 1936, the apartment features four street-facing balconies and an interior with high ceilings and elegant mouldings.

“It was a stately but austere house that was practically in ruins; so we started from scratch while trying not to lose the ceiling height,” says Bustos. “The owners wanted something original and different, jovial and fresh. The owners told me: ‘Patricia, we don’t want the same old stuff. We like colour but we want something new, that’s why we have asked you to do it; surprise us!’”

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Bustos and her team came up with an interior concept she describes as being “something new, cosmopolitan and very cool”. “I like the idea of the house looking like an apartment in any major city in the world,” she explains. “When you see the photos, you don’t know if the home is in Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Milan or San Francisco. That was the idea; that it breathes that sophistication you can find in any of those cities.”

The designer turned to the iconic work of artist Xavier Corberó and architect Ricardo Bofill for inspiration. “I love everything to do with architecture. And when I’m designing an interior, I look at great artists and architects like Corberó or Bofill, using brickwork in unseen forms as our first premise.”

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The three-bedroom apartment comprises an ensuite master bedroom, two bathrooms and a living area and kitchen separated by a sliding door made from polycarbonate and brass. The team had to work around the central load-bearing wall which divided the home into two, while ensuring a logical and practical distribution of spaces that celebrate the couple’s love of entertaining.

“We changed the entire layout so that the master suite could have an ensuite bathroom,” shares the designer, commenting on the challenges of the project. “We also moved the kitchen to join it to the living room. It originally faced the courtyard, but the couple told us that they cook a lot and they wanted a cheerful kitchen attached to the living room for get-togethers with friends. We decided to make all the transitions in arches or circular shapes to give movement to the space and make it more fluid.”

The studio’s proposal was an immediate hit with the couple. “The common thread was the double circle (design) for the whole house—a Le Corbusier-inspired, brutalist concept—but refreshed with arches, and the craziest pink kitchen and purple-blue ceilings, and they loved it. That mix between being blunt and fun was what won them over.”

Pink is punk; pink is the colour of those who are brave and not afraid of change
Spanish designer Patricia Bustos

Circles, arches and other curved forms are recurring motifs throughout the interior. These geometric shapes are uplifted with a joyful dose of pink and other pastel hues. “Pink is punk; pink is the colour of those who are brave and not afraid of change,” says Bustos. “It’s the colour of a new generation that fights for its dreams and finds its way as it goes along, just following its heart and intuition. I really think it is a very powerful colour.”

She adds: “Pink claims the fall of stereotypes. It can turn a boring piece into something fun, a classic piece of furniture into a modern one or refresh a sober environment and turn it into something young and cheerful. I love that it connects with femininity, with seeing life in a positive way.”

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Furnishings in off-white and earthy tones complement the playful mix of textures and pastel tones of the interior architecture. In the living room, an oil painting by Sergio Femar from Gärna Art Gallery is among its other eye-catching details, accompanied by a B&B Italia Camaleonda sofa by Mario Bellini and vintage lamps sourced from L.A. Studio, as well as custom tables designed by Bustos, a jute rug by Kilombo Home, and assorted ceramic vases.

The adjacent dining area is demarcated by a pink ribbed wall with a built-in bench, a brass-trimmed polycarbonate screen and mirror as well as a custom dining table by Patricia Bustos Studio, crafted with a pink Portuguese marble top. A pair of B32 chairs by Marcel Breuer completes the tableau. 

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The dining area is connected to the kitchen, which Bustos considers to be among the highlights of this project. It looks out towards the living room through a circular opening that frames the latter beautifully. She adds: “I love how we made the kitchen something original and not more of the same, and the circle that connects it to the living room is my favourite view.”

The master bedroom is as wondrous, with colourful accent pieces livening up the space. Here, a diptych painting by Mari Quiñonero from Alzueta Gallery echoes the sunny yellow headboard and the pink curtains. These are matched with vintage pieces that include an Italian ceiling lamp from the seventies, along with a pair of methacrylate-and-glass consoles from the eighties that came from France.

The renovation and decoration took a total of four months to complete, and marked the successful outcome of a collaborative journey between the owners and design team.

“The owners were very involved from the beginning, but they fully trusted our team so it was a wonderful process. It turned out to be a very original and unique home, full of surprises without losing any sense or coherence,” shares Bustos. The owners certainly gave an enthusiastic endorsement of the result: “The clients love the living room and their bedroom. They say it is the most beautiful living room they have ever seen in their lives!”

This article was first published n the February-March 2022 issue of Tatler Homes Singapore, available soon on newsstands and at Magzter.

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