October 9, 2008

Space TM's Mark spends a weekend with the chairs at the Ibiza Gran Hotel

The five-star Ibiza crowd are well known for their excesses. Thankfully, one of the first chairs in foyer of Ibiza's Gran Hotel – just a stumble away from the entrance – is the Para (above). 

Designed by the brilliant Barcelona-based firm Joquer, this huge modular sofa would undoubtedly be too big in a less generous hotel. But in this setting, its sculptural grandeur is well suited. 

The upsides are presence and comfort – lie down on it and you don't want to get up again. Good job really, as the latter also calls to mind the serious downside – it actually isn't all that easy to get up off even when do want to. (Warning: this loss of dignity in such a stylish environment will be noted.) Combine this with the fact it can hold around a dozen people and you have a possible natural disaster on your hands.

The pool area at the Ibiza Gran is the hub of the hotel. The loungers, set in the pool itself (above), are the ultimate in cool – literally. They are designed to sit only just above the waterline so on a hot day you can playfully swish your toes in the water. However there are only about a dozen, so they are prime pool real estate. You'll be lucky to bag one because the supermodels are rabid about getting them first (and if luck is on your side, you may be driven away by how terrible you look in comparison to those around you.) Take pleasure, however, in knowing that the loungers are set a little too low. If the pool isn't yet warm the supermodel will be sporting an unpleasantly cold, wet bum.

A romantic treat are the double sun loungers (above) by Skyline designs. Skyline produce some of the most innovative and stylish poolside furniture in the world and are a real favourite of mine. I particularly like the handy room in the middle for that all important ice-bucket (and its bubbly contents).

Bear in mind, however, that if you and your partner have differing sun tolerances, it may be necessary for a "lounger-divorce" to occur, followed by a relocation to two singles. 

Incidentally, I am particularly pleased to learn that these unbeatable loungers are created in my home county of Leicestershire, England.

Back in the foyer two 60s flavoured chairs (above) were perfectly positioned to catch the afternoon sun. Extremely comfortable and large enough to straddle cross-legged, they were used by musicians Groove Armada during their Ibiza Gran photoshoot for Pacha magazine. 

I was unable to find out more about them as the Guest Relations lady was busy organising someone a helicopter to Formentera.

Pebble-like benches were placed outside the lifts on all five floors (pictured above in blue, although available in various colours).

Again, I was unable to find out much more about these but, after sitting on one, I started not to care, being huge, leather-clad, statement-objects that looked fantastic but were as uncomfortable as it's possible to imagine. 

I'm unsure as to whether to keep these on this post. I love experiments in design but am old fashioned in thinking that, fundamentally, a chair needs to be able to be sat upon. My partner still thinks I was making a mistake and sitting on the art. I really want to believe him.

In contrast to the attention grabbing pebbles, here we have another winner by Joquer. This time it's the discreet Lungo-Mare sofa (above). It was cool to see so many pieces by this Spanish firm being chosen to adorn the hotel. All so different, yet each a real winner. This one was tucked away slightly in the first floor gallery, but full of quiet confidence. It combines simplicity in construction, spiced up with subtle asymmetrical detail. A real gem.

I am desperate to find out who made the chair above (if anyone knows then please email me*), for this was my surprise winner. 

Again, tucked away in a less showy part of the hotel, this summed up how carefully all the furniture had been considered. Each piece – with their upsides and downsides – were the perfect choice for the tone of their particular location. For me, the simplicity, proportion and contrasts in this chair – with its two basic block cushions wrapped by a thin continual steel tube – make it a modern classic. I couldn't get enough of it. Oddly, that was also its downside. I wasted a huge amount of a short weekend sat in a lonely part of one of the best hotels in the world. The supermodels thought I was weird, but I was comfortable.

 * I was so thrilled today that the designer of this chair himself contacted us at SpaceTM to tell us he created the chair. It was designed by Ingo Krapf and was another produced through Joquer. Thanks Ingo and much admiration


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