Odile Decq discusses Antares
Her Luxury Residential Tower Planned for Barcelona
Odile Decq has presented plans for ‘Antares’, the french architect’s first large scale residential development and her first building in Barcelona. The luxury residential tower, which was announced at the 2018 Venice architecture biennale, is now under construction in the Catalan capital. As part of the project, Decq has not just designed the building’s striking appearance, but is also responsible for the tower’s interiors. Rising to a total height of 30 stories, ‘Antares’ will contain 89 residences with a selection of 1- to 4-bedroom homes and duplexes.
Odile Decq presents ‘Antares’ as part of the European cultural centre and the global art affairs foundation’s exhibition ‘time space existence’, which runs concurrently with the Venice biennale until November 25, 2018. To learn more, Designboom spoke with Odile Decq who explained more about the project’s challenges and discussed its sculptural presence on the Barcelona skyline. Read the interview in full below.
Designboom (DB): Can you start by introducing ‘Antares’?
Odile Decq (OD): The project is a tower that I won through a competition in 2015, and now we are starting to build it. It’s an existing concrete block, which was never finished. As we planned to increase the height of the tower to 100 meters, there was a big issue with adding more floors. After that we will expand the floors to create big balconies. We tried to design something that is moving, something that looks like it is turning around. It is located at the end of Avinguda Diagonal, with views of the sea.
OD (continued): To have a design which is coherent, I decided to design the interior objects in relation to the tower itself, because the work of an architect is not only the façade, or the outside of the building. This is really a place where you have a global vision about what the complete design of a tower involves. I am not an architect for just the outside, but also for developing everything inside.
DB: Was it a big challenge to transform the existing building into a more sculptural form?
OD: Yes, because when you have something that has very regular grid, and you have to develop huge apartments, the concrete structure is too strict. The main challenge was the height of the existing floors. They are 2.7 meters (less than nine feet), which is not so much. Therefore, we have to increase the impression of space even if there is not such a big height.
OD (continued): In the end you have huge apartments, organised as lofts. Bathrooms are at the back and the living spaces are at the front. This means that every apartment has all the bedrooms and living rooms on the main façade. The kitchens are found at the end of the living space, so almost everywhere has natural light — even some bathrooms, which are at the corner of the building.
DB: And you decided to use the colour red on the building’s façade and also internally?
OD: Everybody thinks that I need black, but sometimes I use red! I was thinking that we can play with red on the façade, so we will have two or three red balconies — which is also the colour of Barcelona. We will also have some objects inside in red.
DB: Does this hanging object represent part of the design?
OD: This is a very particular space, this is the yoga room. there is a gym, there is a swimming pool, and there is a yoga room. You can go inside (the object in the exhibition) to experience the space! It is place to enjoy yoga. The swimming pool and the amenities are found on the lower levels, but there will be natural light coming in everywhere. There will also be a restaurant on the ground floor close to the lobby.
DB: What is the status of the project?
OD: We have just started construction. The contractors have been on site since last week, and it will be completed by the end of 2020. This is why we don’t show so many images. At the moment we want to show the development so people can understand the project.
DB: Are you presenting anything else at this year’s biennale?
OD: At the Giardini, Yvonne and Shelley (the curators of the biennale) asked me to present the intervention that I did at the Garnier Opera House in Paris. Tt was a restaurant with a very specific and fluid shape. Because it is an interior space I decided to do an installation with some curved mirrors and images to create the impression of the space without being there. The double mirrors really make it feel infinite.
DB: And you have also helped organise an event promoting women in architecture?
OD: The event is for women in architecture. As with other fields, women have problems, and women meet problems. This is why we have to say something. There will be, I think, more than 100 women in the Giardini.