Interview with the architect Ismael Mérida

The architecture firm, Ismael Mérida Arquitectos, based in Marbella, was created in 1996 by Ismael Mérida. Today we spoke to its founder. The firm has a multidisciplinary team that encompasses all fields of architecture. Geographically the architecture firm’s activity is concentrated in the Costa del Sol and has projects spread all over Spain, Lisbon, Casablanca, Tangier, Dominican Republic…

Ismael Mérida Arquitectos is known for their signature projects demanded by clients committed to designing where the space and new materials are to the service of the vanguard.

+ On your website, you state the following: “a good project is not one that impresses our ego, but one where we understood our client’s dream.” What is the key to understanding your customers’ dreams?

To listen and listen, and to dream together with the client. I know that we creators have an incredible Ego and we want to show our customers that we have all the answers, but the correct answers come from dialogue, from feeling what is more appropriate on each occasion, from observing.

Villa La Cerquilla - © Ismael Mérida

+ Water is a fundamental element in the projects carried out by your studio. Why?

It is LIFE. Our culture has been historically linked to it, and we live with its influence. It represents joy, color, and freshness. Who does not smile or unwind when seeing a pond of moving water?

+ According to your website you group your work into five blocks: Signature, Collective housing, Single-family housing, Leisure and services, and Interior design and landscaping. How is a team of professionals structured to cover all these services?

That’s right. It is not usual for a firm to cover all of these fields because they require a lot of experience and specialization, but that is why it is attractive too. It implies an overload of work and broader know-how as well as knowing more technologies, regulations, market knowledge, and so on. However, it also makes our job much more interesting because it does not embed us in a model; we do not enter into a routine. The team of architects rotates, and imagination flows, concentration is present.

+ What are your signature projects? Could you give us an example?

For example, in a multi-family housing project, we avoided falling into the prototype of blocks with landscaped common areas. We planned to create a swimming pool in a structure hung as a bridge between the two residential buildings, at 10 meters high: a vertical garden.

The inspiration, you would laugh, came from an oldie film.

Villa Sierra Blanca - © Ismael Mérida

+ You also participated in a significant collection of leisure projects and services. Given that your studio is in Marbella, could you tell us what the implications are of projecting leisure buildings in a city like this?

It’s so funny! When we project a club or a restaurant, you think of the high standing client who will enjoy it, their habits, what attracts them, what can make it conventionally boring. You start to notice everything around you when you go out, day or night; you have to go out and live your leisure to be able to project it!

+ On what projects are you currently working right now?

Very different jobs: private urbanization of villas that we are projecting in Ibiza; a promotion of houses in the garden city and villas in the Higuerón, where we have been given total freedom, or almost, and we will take advantage of it.

Villa La Cerquilla - © Ismael Mérida

+ Could you tell us about a case in which you have worked with TINO Natural Stone?

Of course, in the villas that we are building in Sierra Blanca and La Cerquilla, we projected them as double height walls, coming out of the water open the way towards the open floors of the leisure areas, studying the continuity of their veins. It’s going to be a spectacle.

+ What is the reason why you have used natural stone in some of your works?


+ Why did you choose TINO?

Tino provides variety, quality, and professional advice, let’s be honest, it makes my life as an architect much easier.


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