The architects that build homes with soul

Joan Ignaci and Oliver Borries discuss the practical challenges of building a dream home

The OIB architecture studio feels like a blank canvas for one of their avant-garde homes. It’s a minimalist, open plan space with exposed steel columns and contrasting white and sandstone walls. “Our international clients call it Mallorcan Style,” architect Joan Ignaci Bibiloni says with an amused twinkle in his eye.

Although not technically correct, he and his colleagues have learned to interpret this desire for a contemporary and rustic blend. There is just one key element missing from the office to complete the vision. “A dream home means sea views,” Bibiloni says. Still, the waterfront is only a short walk away from their trendy Santa Catalina base in Mallorca.

Joan Ignaci Bibiloni and Oliver Borries, the co-founders of the successful firm, strike us as down-to-earth and diplomatic. They are able to translate their clients’ ambitious ideas into unique and structurally sound creations. Their services range from finding the land and designing a layout, to construction and interior design.

We tell them our friend has been waiting three months for a builder to turn up to fill a hole in her kitchen floor. How do they get their results? How do they manage to get whole houses built on time? We’re expecting to hear about an infallible network of workers. Instead they give us honesty. “It’s a constant battle,” Oliver Borries admits, “but that’s why we’re here, to solve all the problems and finish on time to the high standard we want.” The clients of OIB architects are spared the drama. If building a home is a journey, then this firm is the state of the art vehicle making it a whole lot smoother.

According to Bibiloni arriving at a home should be an experience. It shouldn’t be abrupt. “You have to get to know a house bit by bit,” he says. We recall front doors which open slap bang into living rooms and understand what he’s getting at. A home should invite you to wander through it. “I use vegetation, light and shadows,” Bibiloni says. The sound of water is a recurring feature too. “When all these elements are in harmony, you know you’re going in the right direction. The projects takes on a soul.”

Social media influences the vision of investors and prospective home owners. In the past some have asked for an exact replica of a glamorous house posted online. “It’s easier than something unique, I suppose,” Borries says. But we can tell these kind of requests don’t satisfy the creative urges of Bibiloni. Fortunately, most clients today are attracted by their signature style.

“What I love is surprising clients with my designs in the 3D presentation phase,” he says. By surprising them, we’re sure he means ‘impressing’ them. Rotating car parks, swimming pools which pass beneath glass-floored living rooms, tree-filled internal courtyards are all mentioned in our conversation. Give him freedom and it sounds like the young architect will produce something really special.

Address details

OIB Architecture

Carrer de Villalonga, 2, 07013 Palma