The CoDIC Awards, given by the College of Interior Designers and Decorators of Catalonia, recognize the best final projects of both degree and training cycle. Sandra López (Bachelor's Degree in Interior Design) has been one of the finalists of the 22nd edition of these awards, to which a total of 41 projects have been submitted and which has been held in online format.
We have talked with Sandra and this is what she told us:
- What is "Despertar en el siglo pasado (s. XX)" ("Awakening in the last century (20th century)"), the project tutored by the professor and Ph.D. Eugenia López Reus with which you have participated in the CoDIC Awards?
"Despertar en el siglo pasado (s. XX)" is based on the restoration of a family farmhouse to transform it into an agritourism where family, travelers and friends live together. The project was born from the family. Specifically, from my mother and grandfather. They made me see that the building deserved it, it deserved someone to dedicate time to it. And although at that time none of us were aware of all the issues that rehabilitating a building full of nostalgia could entail, I saw it clearly and I got down to it.
The abandonment of countless rural villages and their farmhouses, historical heritage, has caused these buildings to enter a state of deterioration that in many cases is almost insurmountable. It is therefore not surprising that no one is interested in investing in their conservation. The main objective of the project is to recover the farmhouses by reorganizing and restoring their spaces.
Mas de la Vall (the name I have decided to give to the agritourism itself) is faithful to the history and essence of the farmhouses. It is based on the family and its way of living and sharing. And it highlights the authenticity that surrounds these buildings, provided by its character and identity, its imperfection and its commitment to natural materials and handcrafted finishes.
- What was the work process like, from the moment the idea came up until you developed the project?
It really went much more smoothly than I expected. As soon as I decided to listen to the family, to the farmers who also live in farmhouses, to other professionals, etc. the ideas started to emerge and everything began to make sense. There were only two things left: to dedicate hours to it and to flesh out the details.
First floor of the project
- Were there any challenges you faced during this process? How did you solve them?
A lot! Starting to design the entire space in confinement, without being able to physically go to the site, was a challenge. I printed the plans in parts on A4 sheets and glue them together to see them in detail and make corrections. I asked for photos, made video calls when someone was able to get away to show me the areas, etc. It has really been curious how the project has gone, but it has also connected me in a different way with the place. And not just me.
It seems that the pandemic has awakened the desire to change habits and flee from the big cities to more natural environments. A significant fact for the project, as it was not intended to be applied in a single element but in all possible ones. To gradually do away with empty houses and villages and restore them with communities committed to their lifestyle and the impact that this may entail. To create places in which to rediscover country life. To revive what many of our ancestors considered to be their everyday life. To live from what nature itself offers us. At a different pace and in a privileged rural environment. To learn from a lifestyle that, besides being healthy, is respectful.
In short, to recover already built spaces that work, to promote agritourism as a business model, to promote the self-sufficiency enjoyed by the farmhouses and to highlight the importance of agriculture and local products. But, above all, to learn again to enjoy the simple things, as before. "Despertar en el siglo pasado (s. XX)" in today's times doesn't sound so crazy, does it?
- How did you feel when you found out you were a finalist in the CoDIC Awards?
Being such a big personal project (the Mas consists of almost 1000m2 of living space) I felt very excited, but also relieved. I began to breathe easier when I thought that, if a group of professionals valued the project in this way, it meant that I had been on the right track. I am very grateful to the recognition and to the people who have helped me during the process.
I can say that it lacks hours of work and to deepen some details, but "Despertar en el siglo pasado (s. XX)" has become a legacy, a gift to the family and to the people of the countryside.
One of the spaces of the Mas
- This is your final degree project. Do you think it reflects everything you have learned during these four years?
I like to think that it reflects much more. It has been a compilation of all my knowledge, but also an evolution of my way of thinking and understanding the world. It is important to deconstruct yourself to see that there are thousands of ideas, methodologies, etc. Many of these were carried out years ago and were not made with the intention of lasting in time, but they have! And I think it is interesting and necessary to recover them and take them into account as well.
- Complete the sentence: Studying at LCI Barcelona has been...
Intense. Both the School and I have gone through many phases, even more so being the first generation of the Bachelor's Degree in Interior Design. From my time here I take with me each and every grain of sand from the professors and professionals who have believed in me. It is also thanks to them that I am here today, enjoying the profession I have chosen.
Sandra is one of the nine finalists of the CoDIC 2020 Awards
- You finished your degree just a few months ago. How are you facing your professional future?
The big question! With three years of professional experience behind me, it is something I'm rethinking and building day by day. It is a complicated time, we are all moving forward with our projects as best we can and with the minimum.
Now that I am again "in full search" I have begun to draw up a list of studios with which I would like to collaborate, I have opened the doors of my little world and, well, let's see what they think of the proposal! At the same time, I'm raising new challenges with colleagues who are in a similar situation. Detecting problems and proposing solutions. Above all, it is important not to stop moving!
Discover Sandra's projects on her website.