School, Orsonnens, Swiss, 2014.© Luis Diaz
School, Orsonnens, Swiss, 2014. © Luis Diaz

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TEd’A sub rosa

Is it a taste for palimpsest, the urge to make the work of the hand visible, the underlying substrate? Or the desire to reinterpretate the vernacular vocabulary, and also to exploit all the richness of available materials? The reasons behind the importance of ornament in the work of Majorca-based practice TEd’A are multiple and fundamental.

 

“I am not mortified! I prefer it that way.” Majorca-born critic Josep Quetglas dismantled the caricature of Adolf Loos as an ascetic with these words by the Austrian himself.

How could someone who took pleasure in the veins of Eubea marble be considered an ascetic? On the contrary, Loos defended his architecture as pleasant, in the sense —albeit somewhat perverse— of a derivative of the placenta: his interiors were, one could say, covers for the body, lining for bourgeois bathrobes. Mention of this paradoxical hedonism is cogent when interpreting ornament in the context of the recent work of Quetglas’ neighbours, TEd’A arquitectes, the firm led by Irene Pérez and Jaume Mayol (1976). Although fretted and backstitch patterns have appeared in their most recent work, their buildings evoke not so much the opulence of a silken robe as, in a similar way to Loos, respect for the hands that wove it-its social undercurrent.

“So, what are you going to do with all these stones?”
That was the question that changed everything around 2010. Back then, less than a decade after Pérez and Mayol graduated from the Vallés School of Architecture in Barcelona, the Majorca-based team’s portfolio consisted of little more than a small bunch of houses and a modest local museum in Montuïri, Mayol’s home town in the centre of the island. When they visited the site for another dwelling, a family commission in this case, they noticed a tiny structure made of Marés stone blocks, the island’s vernacular material. “It was like a slap. How could we waste those blocks? Until the 20th century, anyone would have thought of something to do with them.”

Read the full version of this article in AA’s 429th issue – Ornament – released in March 2019, still available on our online shop.

Can Jaime i n’Isabelle, Palma, Majorque, 2018. Cette maison de 320 m2 s’organise autour de quatre patios. Les murs de la maison sont en béton cyclopéen, construits avec la pierre extraite du terrain. © TEd'A arquitectes
Can Jaime i n’Isabelle, Palma, Majorca, 2018. This 320-sq.metres house is organised around four patios. The walls of the house are cyclopean concrete, built with stone extracted from the plot. © TEd’A arquitectes

 

Can Jordi i n’Àfrica, Montuïri, Majorque, Espagne, 2015. Chaque bloc mesure 80 x 40 x 20 cm. Les anciens sillons dans lesquels était coulé le mortier pour assembler les blocs ont laissé leur trace sur la pierre. © TEd'A arquitectes
Can Jordi i n’Àfrica, Montuïri, Majorca, Spain, 2015. Each block is 80 x 40 x 20 cm. The grooves into which the mortar was poured to assemble the former blocks have left their trace on the stone. © TEd’A arquitectes

 

Can Jordi i n’Àfrica, Montuïri, Majorque, Espagne, 2015. Pour construire les murs de cette maison de 311 m2, les architectes ont en partie réutilisé les pierres en grès local, le marés, issues d’un bâtiment existant. © TEd'A arquitectes
Can Jordi i n’Àfrica, Montuïri, Majorca, Spain, 2015. The walls of this 311-sq.metre house are partly made from reused local sandstone blocks, called marés, extracted from an existing building. © TEd’A arquitectes

 

Espace d’exposition, usine Huguet, Campos, Majorque, Espagne, 2015. Dans cet espace de 50 m3, un mur en béton vibré de 2,20 mètres de haut sert de fond neutre contre lequel s’adosse un cadre léger en bois, support des produits exposés. © TEd'A arquitectes
Exhibition space, Huguet Factory, Campos, Majorca, Spain, 2015. In this 50-cubic-metre space, the 2.2-metre-high vibrated concrete walls act as a neutral background for the the light wooden frames displaying the exhibits. © TEd’A arquitectes

 

© TEd'A arquitectes
Exhibition space, Huguet Factory, Campos, Majorca, Spain, 2015. © TEd’A arquitectes

This article was originally published in AA’s 429th issue – Ornament – released in March 2019 and still available on our online store. 

© L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui
© L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In June 2017, AA had dedicated his issue to Spain as a leader in terms of architectural quality: read this issue still available on our online store.

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