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Juan Simonet

SPAIN - Real Estate & Construction

Juan Simonet

Architect, Garrit Lab

Bio

Juan Simonet studied architecture in Barcelona and Ljubljana. He worked in various studios in Barcelona and later gained field experience while working in a construction company in Mallorca. He established his architecture lab in 2021 and aims to incorporate other like-minded artists and architects in the expansion of his studio

Garrit Lab is an architecture and design studio where architecture intertwines with sculpture, design and furniture prototypes.

What is Garrit Lab, and what sets it apart from other studios in the sector?

Garrit Lab is an architecture studio bringing a new concept to Mallorca’s construction landscape. I not only focus on designing projects, but also work on providing maquettes to the clients, to give them a proper feel of the space and scale, and also experimenting with the trend of including parametric architecture to my design. I also spent several years working in a construction company, where I have learned the ins and outs of a site. For example, the investment has to be higher in the beginning, so that the monthly cost gets to be much lower when the house is finished. Many clients are asking how they can make their houses less humid and have lower energy costs, like in the case of passive houses, which uses about 10W as opposed to typical houses using about 150W. Another important feature of my work I place an emphasis on is not only thinking about a project in 2D. With a model, you can express the volumes, spaces, and the relationship between these spaces. To envision the final outcome, it is easier and faster to do an online rendering, and details can be changed with a click. On the other hand, doing a physical model is much more complicated, but much more comprehensive. For example, in Mallorca the land is often uneven, and it might be difficult for the builder, the client, and even the bricklayer to understand or envision the different spaces with a 2D rendering. There are many tools that allow you to work with 3D quickly and have a result that anyone can understand, but I am trying to differentiate myself from others by working with 3D, renders, and physical models. Many architectural offices use models as a post-construction object when a building is finished; but I try to implement is as part of the process.

How do you conceive the concept of sustainability in your projects?

Sustainability can be seen in multiple ways. There are many foreign clients who talk about sustainability and want to do something “green”; however, they bring in carpentry from back home, or they order huge windows, which have to be cooled in summer, and end up using more energy. Being sustainable starts with using zero-kilometer materials and understanding the house as a machine, in which the less consumption you have, the better it will be, all the while making sure it is a beautiful house. What differentiates an architect from an engineer and a quantity surveyor is this more aesthetic part.

What advice would you give someone considering buying a house in Mallorca?

In architecture, Mallorca has a bit of everything. If you walk through the most touristy areas, the architecture there does not have a stamp, so to speak. It is all about understanding the true identity of Mallorca, its climate, the different areas of the island, and, more than a direct aesthetic style, understanding spaces and knowing how to take advantage of the seasons that Mallorca experiences throughout the year. Budget naturally plays a great role and doing thorough research on the clients’ desired lifestyle is key. A visible trend we are witnessing lately is restoring townhouses and rural properties, where architects not only need to preserve the style, but also require creativity and resourcefulness to keep as many of the initial items of the house intact. These properties require greater dedication and for me personally are more interesting, space restrictions become inspiration and open new possibilities. As an example, about a year ago, an old townhouse in the center of the island was renovated for about EUR1.5 million and then resold for EUR4.5 million; the architects dedicated a great deal of time, took great care of the original details and restored it to a more Mallorcan brand. 

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