Spanish-born María Teresa García Santiago, an interior designer working under Patricia Bustos, cites organic architects like Fernando Higueras, César Manrique, and Ricardo Bofill as formative influences. Years later, curvilinear forms not unlike the structures those three visionaries created continue to resonate. During the pandemic, María Teresa took a series of trips to Almería in southeast Spain and to the Canary Island of Fuerteventura, where she spent much of her childhood. There, she realized these desert landscapes would ultimately inform the design aesthetic for her new home in Madrid.
“When I travel I usually visit remote places, like the rocky cliffs that hide secret caves and homes in hard-to-reach places, where I can reconnect with the purity of the natural elements,” the interior designer explains. So when it came to designing her own home, María Teresa wanted to create her own domestic landscape where all elements would feel like they’re part of the environment.
Drenched in natural light, the living space is an open area connected to the kitchen and dining room by a series of arches. “The kitchen, for me, is a meeting place to eat with friends [and] have a party,” says María Teresa, who often uses the island as a DJ table. “It’s also a place to paint, think about ideas, and develop my projects.” Odes to the desert can be found too: The carpet in the living room, for example, is inspired by dunes with different shades of sand, while one of the walls, which is plastered with pieces of broken travertine marble, looks like an eternal sunset.
“Everything in the house has an organic continuity…. There are no corners, but [instead there are] rounded edges,” María Teresa says. The ceiling, walls, and floor are covered in cement of the same tone while the lighting is integrated into the walls and floors to create a feeling of tranquility and warmth. The furniture is minimal, with built-ins maintaining a sense of continuity while allowing for more space.
The tunnel-like corridor guides the way to the bedrooms—where more built-ins await. The primary bedroom is designed to look like a cave (very much in reference to César Manrique). María Teresa took inspiration from natural environments and the shapes, organic colors, and curves of rock formations in the room’s own walls. The bed is made of stonework and is covered in microcement. Even the mattress is rounded.
“I have a desire to live in a sheltered universe that isolates me from the madness of my neighborhood,” she says. “This house is my personal desert.”