By JoAnn Greco
Magnus Ehrland’s first instinct as he explored the site for the El Llorenç Parc de la Mar hotel in the La Calatrava neighborhood of Palma de Mallorca, Spain was to tie everything together with an Arabic aesthetic. Then the Swedish interior designer began to question the motives behind the motif. “I thought it might be very strange using these kinds of patterns in Mallorca,” he says. Once he learned more about the Moorish history of the island, though, he was relieved that “it all made sense and I could trust my gut feeling.”
That design influence shows up most distinctly in a perpetual star pattern that recurs throughout the property. “It is reflected in a variety of materials: wood, stone, glass, metal, and ceramic,” Ehrland says. “You will find it in ceilings, milled into doors, laser cut in lampshades, and in jacquard woven layers.”
The hotel’s sense of place unfolds inmyriad other ways, too. Consider Ehrland’s generous use of tile, a staple of Mediterranean architecture. “I wanted to bring back the vintage type of tiles that normally were used as a top decorative border,” he says. “I wanted a genuine Spanish feel with high recognition, but done in a new and personal way.” Throughout the hotel’s bathrooms and its wellness studio, Ehrland set 35 different types of embossed and plain tiles in staggered arrangements, opting for a palette of creamy beige (guestroom baths), smoky gray (public space baths), and deep ocean blue-green (basement pool and spa treatment rooms).
These hues “relax…and bring energy,” says Ehrland, adding that for him “white walls have always been a big no.” Instead, he citesthe washed golds and taupes of the stones from the Mallorcan towns of Santanyi and Binissalem and the jewel tones of the nearby water as key inspirations for the color scheme.
Besides 33 guestrooms and the below-ground spa, El Llorenc features a restaurant and rooftop bar. The new construction, set between two older buildings (architecture came courtesy of locally basedPedro Rabassa), brought with it expected and unexpected challenges—including the discovery of an 11th-century tannur, or mud oven—but Ehrland was keen on taking advantage of the old-new mix.
“The overall idea was to create a design that would be timeless,” he says, adding that walnut moldings reminiscent of the 1920s and ’30s, for example, make the building “look like it has been there a long time, but renovated during different stages. We chose to use materials, methods, and techniques that have a connection to the historical aspect of the [location] …but in new and unexpected ways to make them feel fresh.”
Photos: Mauricio Fuertes Photography