On Majorca, a Wellness Retreat Whose Design Was a Family Affair


There are architects who have shaped certain places in such singular and profound ways — Luis Barragán and Mexico City, Albert Frey and Palm Springs — that it’s hard to think of one without the other. Increasingly, the same is true of Antoni Esteva and Majorca, situated some 130 miles from the Spanish mainland in the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean. Over the past five decades, Esteva, who was born on the island, has dreamed up or transformed dozens of its buildings, from the local artist Miquel Barceló’s home and atelier — which incorporates a 13th-century lookout tower — to the reimagined 18th-century farmhouse that holds the cultish country hotel Son Gener. In 2010, he embarked on a restoration of the artist Joan Miró’s former home in Palma, Majorca’s capital, reorienting the rooms so as to redirect the gaze to the garden. If there is a common thread running through his work, it’s his fondness for employing natural materials and the resulting structures’ tendency to complement, and sometimes even disappear into, the landscape.

It is perhaps unsurprising that, having grown up among such considered spaces, not to mention that of their own Antoni Esteva-designed and art-filled family home near the medieval town of Son Servera, the architect’s two children are also aesthetically inclined and respected talents in their own right. Tomeu Esteva, 48, studied architecture at London Metropolitan University and, in 2000, founded the Palma-based firm Esteva i Esteva with his father — “he’d always worked alone, but now we do certain projects together,” Tomeu says. Since then, the pair have taken their collective vision to northern India, to Portugal and to Los Angeles’s Mulholland Drive, where they will soon complete a private home with a facade of stucco painted the same shade of ecru as the surrounding earth, and a 30-foot-long living room with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors on both sides. “We try to create balance with every tool we have,” says Tomeu, “with light, materials and proportions.”

Rosa Esteva, 46, studied art and fashion in Barcelona, where she’s based, and founded Cortana, her line of sophisticated staples, such as columnar dresses of silk georgette and fitted linen-and-wool-blend pants with silk-lined pockets, 20 years ago. “I like to make garments that enhance the person but without eclipsing their personality, that are in fact a continuation of the wearer’s self,” she says of the label, which she sells out of three boutiques, all designed by Esteva i Esteva, including one in Palma’s historic center, as well as online. Clearly, she inherited her father’s taste for subtlety and earthy materials, but her work also reflects a sense of color and form gleaned from her and Tomeu’s mother, Catín Cañellas, who worked for many years as a florist and often let Rosa make little bouquets with leftover blooms. At the same time, the Esteva siblings have always had their own opinions…



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