LUV is in the air – a chat with leading architect Christian Sintes
In 2014, Menorca-born Christian Sintes founded LUV Architecture & Design, specialising in high-end residential homes, having acquired more than 12 years’ experience in the sector. Christian spoke to LFStyle about establishing the business, its philosophy, its USPs and his latest project in the beautiful region of El Garraf, close to Barcelona.
What is the ethos of the company?
From the very beginning, LUV’s philosophy has been based on a quest for excellence. We provide absolute customer satisfaction, LUV believes that every person is unique and therefore creates unique environments to enhance each individual’s preferences and desires. Our philosophy of work is very atypical as it involves a holistic approach. We cannot concentrate on just one part of the project if we want our designs to truly enhance people’s lives. The know-how and devotion for fine materials, the subtle nuances, the timeless designs or the premeditated balance of technology and craftsmanship are our keys to success.
How do you think LUV projects differ from other architectural and interior design companies?
- We create spaces that mirror their owners and their lifestyle.
- The client is at the centre of the project. The project is about shaping who the client is.
- We are focused on impeccable levels of service, attention to detail and the quality demanded by High Net Worth clients, irrespective of project size and location.
- We bring to the market a clear concept of different exclusiveness and luxury, where detail, preciseness and beauty are the added values.
- We conceive, design and manage very special projects, understood as unique gems, spaces where people want to live.
- We provide an extremely personalised and holistic service, which can encompass a full design scope (architecture, ambiance-styling and interior design, engineering, landscaping and management services).
- Our experience extends worldwide to some of the most exclusive locations across Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East, working across residential and hotel projects, which involve reaching singularity.
When a client approaches you to work on a project from scratch, what are the key steps involved?
The first stage of any project involves a meeting with our clients to understand how they see themselves living or using the new spaces, which dreams they wish would come true, and also to guide them towards the best way to meet their expectations. Our usual advice is ‘let us surprise you’, aiming always at exceeding expectations. We will gather key information about the project and will work with the client to allocate responsibility for finding information and may engage with other professionals and the Council to gain a full understanding of the requirements for the design.
We will then progress to concept design development where the project and ‘leit motif’ (general concept) will come to life as we consider the project’s scope, budget and any special requirements. During concept design we will offer a range of solutions, and concepts will be developed through a series of drawings, floor plans and 3D CGIs (Computer Generated Images). For the best understanding of the project we will always develop the project in 2D and 3D so the client will always be able to fully understand the proposed spaces and concepts and interactively walk through the project.
Once the client is fully satisfied with the concept project we will then advance the design to the level of detail that allows a construction contractor to assess the full scope of the project prior to tender. This detail design stage will include all the necessary documents to obtain the construction licence and to tender.
We will guide the client in selecting the best construction team and control the 3 main key elements that will drive to success: Time, Quality and Budget.
The ‘close out’ and ‘handover’ will be the last step of the works. We will ensure the spaces are delivered clean, perfectly revised and quality checked, and perform the easiest handover process so that the client has a full understanding on how the spaces and systems work and which is the best maintenance plan. We will also help liaising with any other issues such as the logistics for moving in.
What are the main challenges involved in executing a project from start to finish?
Our main challenge is to interpret and translate our clients’ lifestyles into a close and personal project while we establish the ‘magical nuances’ and ‘leit motif’ that make their project different from all others.
It is also challenging to keep up with the latest trends in architecture and interior design, observing from a certain distance, so as to obtain a truly unique and timeless result. Every single project is treated as the most special one in the world, so they are all very challenging!
What is the project you have been most proud of and why?
It’s a very difficult question, as our projects are all like little gems where we put all our effort and heart into. If I had to choose a recent project, I would say the London Tapestry Apartment. The project’s goal was to transform an old warehouse into a singular and exclusive space that could double as a home and a showroom for a jewellery maker in London. The project intended to respect and maintain the integrity and the industrial past that defined the character of this former warehouse, originally built for the East India Company, for more than 200 years. The London Tapestry Apartment has been successfully published internationally and was very recently named by Elle Decor UK during London Design Week as the ‘New London Look’.
How does the design of a home vary in the different locations you work in? What needs to be taken into account?
Nowadays design is very globalised. We have access and are aware of the construction systems, climatic data, design trends in architecture, interior design and landscape, from any location in the world, so we can fully achieve a development located either in China, London or Barcelona independently. Location and project size are not a constraint for us. As an example, we have very recently concluded the design of a complex located in the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts, and a private villa in Cameroon.
What would you say are the pitfalls that some people make without using expertise when designing a home?
Many people think that appointing an architect or an interior designer is going to be useless, expensive and/or over complicated. Actually having a designer on board will help with liaising with the locals, finding the best professionals to undertake the works, analysing potential risks, managing any required construction permits and guaranteeing that their expectations are met with fierce control over the expected quality, time and budget.
You were recently involved in creating the interior design of a beautiful home in the El Garraf region. Can you tell us a bit about the concept?
The El Garraf house is a beautiful property located very near to the Catalan coast. The views from the interior are wide open, creating a fantastic relationship between the living spaces and nature. The interior concept is focused on the idea of reinforcement between nature and all the interior spaces, almost like one cannot live without the other. All the interior spaces are designed to maximise this relation. We have chosen very natural and light coloured materials that connect with the material palette of a beach house, while maintaining a very contemporary feel.
The loose furniture is soft and textured, while the fitted units are very contrasted in colour and material, creating a very refined balance of texture and tone.
Light control is an essential feature in the house, and by controlling both natural and artificial lighting we gain absolute control over the ambiance we want to create.
What do you think makes this property so special?
First of all the fantastic views and relation with the Mediterranean Sea. Secondly the fact that the living spaces are inter-related, but at the same time visually separated, creating differentiated ambiances but keeping the complete view over the spaces. And thirdly the fantastic privacy that the house enjoys.
Who do you think the home will most appeal to?
I believe that this is the perfect home for a family who is looking to either have a second property for holiday use, or a family who is looking for a peaceful environment that is very near to Barcelona but sufficiently far to live in a quiet and intimate environment.
For more information on how Christian and his team can transform your home please contact:
LUV | The Luxury of Living
M: +34 610 469 425
T: +34 934 155 685
More images of the El Garraf home
For more information on the property in El Garraf and others in and around Sitges, please contact Rachel Haslam from the Lucas Fox Sitges office at email@example.com.