Designer Diaries


Design Inspiration from Spain: Part I

SFDG designer Jean Gutheim Kaiser recently took a trip to Spain. Below she shares her thoughts about and pictures of what inspired her:

I love to travel. I love the planning…where should we go, where should we stay, what should we do and see. I love the excitement of seeing how each day becomes interesting and varied.

This year I was lucky enough to travel to Spain to visit my daughter who is studying in Sevilla this semester. I thought that the first weekend we would go somewhere exotic, but reachable from both Madrid, where I was flying into, and Sevilla.

We decided on the Canary Islands. After booking our flights, I did an online search for an interesting resort. I found the innovative Sandos San Blas Environmental Reserve Resort, which was inspired by both the natural and cultural values of the island, as well as the shapes, colors and textures.

The resort was designed to be integrated into the landscape and reduce its environmental impact. It was built adjacent to an environmental reserve, which has amazing hiking paths, archeological sites and unique species of flora. Design inspirations were everywhere, from the beautiful rhythm of the wooden slat sunshades around the bar and spa to the infinity edge pool looking over the ocean. Wherever you looked you had to be grateful for the detail that the designers used. The fact that they could do this and make it eco-friendly too, now that really is good design.

This is a photo of my son Matt when we were hiking in the environmental reserve.

This is me hiking.

The infinity edge pool was right on the ocean. The island had black volcanic rock and sand, which made for dramatic and beautiful views.

We also had time to go to Tenerife to see the beautiful concert hall, which was designed by Santiago Calatrava. It is one of the most striking and graceful structures I have ever seen. You could see how Calatrava was inspired by the work of Gaudi, especially how he used white mosaic tile to clad the exterior of the building, which flows and shimmers in the sun. This Auditorio really creates a welcoming entrance to the beautiful city of Tenerife by the sea, which is definitely worth the drive!

P.S. If you don’t want to travel this far, go see his fabulous addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Stay tuned for more of Jean's design inspiration from Spain!

1 Comment

Cathy, May 22, 2011

Hi Jean,
Love your blog...not too much, not too little! Learned something in an engaging manner! You're a great writer!

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