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Between Architecture and Interior Design with césar maestre-vendrell

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With an innate passion for architecture and a draw to interior design, césar maestre-vendrell shared with MiND his love for his work.

As a student, César attended the Barcelona School of Architecture (2005-2012) and through Erasmus studied for a year at Versailles National School of Architecture in Paris (2010-2011). Getting that experience in both Barcelona and Paris really impacted César. He got to see two different approaches and understanding of architecture.

“I have always been interested in the world of architecture and how things are built”

2016: loft reform in the Raval.

Professionally, César has gained in experience in a variety of specialties within architecture. “My first professional contact was for almost 3 and a half years, when I was a student, as a collaborator in a small Barcelona architectural firm (2007-2010), where single and multi-family homes were developed, as well as hotels and a shopping center project. Later I began to collaborate with the Barcelona architecture firm GCA Arquitectes Associats (2012-2014) and, at the same time, I had the possibility of working in collaboration with a Catalan architect (2014), with whom I have developed the executive project for a temporary exhibition of the ‘Obra Social La Caixa’, and two construction management offices in Barcelona.

To face new professional challenges, I left GCA Arquitectes Associats to join the Proffetional Finishing Design team (2015), where I worked for 5 months developing hotel interior design projects worldwide. From Profettional I became part of the Contemporain Studio team (2015-2018), the Barcelona interior design studio of Lázaro Rosa-Violán, where I had the pleasure of working for 3 years developing all kinds of projects (hotels and restaurants, as well as football stadium) for interior design. Now I am currently working as an interior designer for the Oysho (Inditex) brand and I also do some things on my own”.

“I can build the box, but what I like and enjoy the most is developing the inner content”

While architecture is his background and schooling, César’s real passion is interior design. “I entered the world of architecture by vocation and the world of interior design by decision. My life has led me to dedicate myself to that because I wanted it and it is where I am really at ease because I like to imagine how it will be living in a space starting from materials, geometry, light, smell…everything. I think the interior design ends up allowing you to develop all this.”

"I think that anything we see and touch can be interpreted and can be used and applied to interior design."

2017: remodeling of an apartment in Raval.

With such vast experience in the world of architecture and interior design and having a hand in so many projects. We asked César if there is one in particular that he is most proud of. He explained that there isn’t one project because one cannot be better than another since they are all designed in different moments. Although he may change some things now about a project, at the time they were created, he put his best effort in. However, he did mention a specific Oysho store that he is most proud of which is the store in Barcelona in Portal de l’Àngel because of its characteristic architecture and is a very warm and surprising store.

César also works on some projects on his own. The last project he worked on was a complete refurbishment of an apartment in Raval (Barcelona old town). Often times in architecture, the vision of the architect is blocked by finances, however with this project, money was not an issue and César’s ideas were all accepted. “The building is an old building, characteristic of the area with wooden beams, it is quite low in height, and it has a very irregular shape and it has a lot of lighting thanks to its south orientation. Taking advantage of all this, I reorganized all the interior spaces in a line that somewhat respected what the building’s architecture was – the wooden beams and the ceramic revolt. I wanted to give it a lot of space and a lot of light. Then I put many design pieces around the entire apartment.”

César’s remodeling of an apartment in Raval, Barcelona.

We asked César his thoughts on how ecommerce works with the physical store. In his opinion they are complementary, but the expansion of online shops raises a challenge for physical retail. Because of this, he believes that flagships are the focus and future. “The flagship store is an image store that we have in the most representative sites. In those stores, you can afford anything. They are shops that are already very well located in emblematic buildings; they have an interesting facade. They have pre-existing height or internal architecture that you can take advantage of and reinterpret. It will be necessary to contribute something more to the user’s shopping experience, to give that buyer more comfort. There should be spaces where the customer can live in the store, which is, generating waiting areas, rest areas, where people can charge the phone and have free wifi.”

“You always have to keep moving forward and stand out to be happy with what you do.”

Leading such a successful career, César shared some valuable lessons. “Somehow you do not have to conform. Everything is always in constant evolution. A better project is carried out collaborating and listening to other points of view. I always discuss it with fellow architects. It is important never to shut yourself up. Other points of view are very good to improve your own proposal.”

MiND loved getting to know César and hearing his story. We wish him the best and will be watching to see what great new projects he creates!

Interview by: Lisa Zanon