Based in the stunning small coastal village of Deia in Mallorca lies the bespoke architecture, design and landscaping firm Moredesign. Fusing a contemporary design approach with a revision of traditional practices, founders Oro del Negro and Manuel Villanueva saw the demand for design-led services within interiors and architecture. Reimagining spaces with a clear passion and vision for creating something unique, Moredesign has grown a presence locally in Mallorca, as well as internationally with their projects in Sicily, Brasil and the Bahamas. We had the opportunity to catch up with Manuel who told all there was to know about Moredesign.
Manuel, how did you initially gain an interest in architecture and interior design?
I studied architecture in Madrid. I loved the combination between the technical side and the creative world. I was tempted to study boat design, but instead I stuck to architecture. After my studies I was lucky to get a job very early with some local architects in Madrid, after which Jean Nouvel started an office in Madrid to develop a few project like the Hotel Puerta de America, and so I began working for him. Those few years working for him opened many doors. I travelled to Holland to work for OMA for a couple of years and then I moved to Basel to work for Herzog de Meuron for four years. Whether it was coincidence or fate, they started a project in Madrid and I was sent back to my home town to work on it. After those years I decided to take a break and go to Mallorca where my wife grew up.
What made you want to create your own brand?
Oro grew up in Deia with my wife. He and I had been talking about architecture since we were very young. We had kept common grounds. One day he called me to do his first house when I had just finished university. Then he called me for a project located in the Bahamas when I was still working for Herzog de Meuron. When I decided to move back to Deia we talked about working together. It was almost natural with how we founded Moredesign – initially, we worked from our own homes, then we found a small flat to rent and hired our first employee and started this journey.
How would you describe the style and aesthetic found throughout Moredesign’s projects?
I think we are exploring a line of Mediterranean architecture which learns from the past but also from all the cultures that collide in this part of the world. We are focused on life more than anything. Our projects are happy, sexy, intimate, delicate. We simultaneously work on the interiors and landscape.
What does ‘Mediterranean Architecture’ mean to you?
It’s a very wide term. There are many different lines within the Mediterranean and yet they all share common grounds. It’s an architecture that keeps a strong identity in many places. It is simple, humble, it uses the resources it finds nearby. That is why architecture in Menorca developed different to the one in Mallorca. The stone is different, and so are the trees and the landscape. In Panarea where we built a house we used volcanic rock for the walls, and the way you work that rock is completely different to the stones we use in Mallorca. I love that variation. But they all share common grounds. Massive volumes, simplicity, materiality and so on.
As the Architecture Director, what is your favourite feature of a home and why?
Or and I work together as a team. The titles of architecture director or design director don’t mean much to us. I enjoy every phase, and every part, but I am especially happy when the house works well with its surroundings, that being, the relation between the house and the immediate landscape.
What room in a home is most important to you? Why?
The kitchen. It is the centre of gravity of everything, the machine that feeds the family, the place to come together. It is always super important in our designs.
What was one of your most memorable projects to date?
All have a different and special value but if I had to choose one I think Casa Lleo allowed us to take a step forward in our design thinking . Casa Jondal in Ibiza also means a lot as it is our first public building in Ibiza and the way people are reacting to it is amazing.
What does the future hold for Moredesign?
Projects in Ibiza and Formentera, Sicily, we are opening to working in more distant lands and surely those experiences will come back to what we do here in our hometown of Deia.