According to the interior designer Isaac Estévez, imagination has no limits. From his recondite studio-showroom Olivia House, located in Valencia’s historic center, the Dominican designer unleashes his creativity to perform all kinds of projects.
Olivia House is a warm, cozy space exuding originality upon entering its doors. Mirrors, busts, lamps and chandeliers mimic with Viccarbe’s geometric, kind and effortless furniture, which contrasts and dresses the ambiance, providing a magic, magnetic, and sophisticated atmosphere which defines its creator. Today’s interiors can be minimalist or maximalist. However, authentic contemporary classics will always remain timeless. We talk about pieces that endure over time and are a symbol of a persistent innovation that do not pursue fashions or trends.
Today, Isaac Estévez opens the doors of Olivia House and he proves that decorative movements do not understand limits.
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For the ones who do not know you, who is Isaac Estévez?
Isaac Estévez is a man who speaks out loud, with an eclectic style that combines contemporary design with antique pieces, a style named “Upper Bohemia”.
Tell us about your project Olivia House.
Olivia House was conceived three years ago as a “show flat”. That was the initial idea behind it. Soon we transformed it into a showroom as an extension of our decorative shop, with the purpose of making it accessible for clients who required a more intimate place to speak about their projects. Projects that have always received a name as we need to identify for what we are working for. This way we portray a story and we develop a concept that is brought to life little by little.
How did the project idea arise?
Years ago, I was invited to a brunch in Paris, where I met a wonderful woman and through her the name Olivia came up. She was a mix between naturalness and sophistication, refinement and femininity, something I have always admired from women. This is how I created Olivia House.
On your website you define Olivia House as a literary character. Does Olivia House have a life of its own and imposes its own standards to decorate it?
The space rules nut we have absolute freedom. It is the space who states which products work and which don’t.
At Olivia House there is always music. What role does it play in your inspiration and your projects?
Mi dearest friend Laura Fitera says I cannot understand life without music. I like some time to myself and I always like to start my day with music. And when I start working on a Project, music is always present. Depending on the style we seek I listen to a certain type of songs. Music connects you with the story behind and we create stories for people to live in.
What products from Viccarbe did you choose for Olivia House?
Olivia House is a space with history; therefore, I knew any Viccarbe product could fit nicely. I chose two Fedele armchairs, Bamba low table in brass and a Burin Mini table. I also selected an Aspa table due to the lightness it could convey to the space. Its star shaped legs bring organic lines into the atmosphere.
You have been associated with a maximalist, eclectic and baroque style but you now introduce very different textures and shapes such as the ones from Viccarbe. In decoration and architecture, ¿should we leave labels apart as what matters is the combination of different styles?
My work is a mix of my travels and my mother is always present in everything I do, but we do not impose a certain style. The client is who demands. I do not like labels. I would much rather be called eclectic for choosing the right pieces. If the space enables it, you can be maximalist with rich textures and antiques. The baroque style was bourgeois and palatial and it is still being referred to in a pejorative way. At Olivia we mix styles and to do so you have had to lived a lot and have a diverse background. Viccarbe’s furniture has softened the load thanks to its geometric shapes, which stand out. Its chairs are also practical and perform a function and a mission on its own.
With how would you sit on one of them?
I would take a seat on one of Viccarbe’s Season Chairs and have a chat with Tom Ford and my dearest friend Laura Fitera. Tom Ford is a brave man, who speaks out loud, brilliant as a director and as a designer.
Are pieces minimalist on their own or they depend on their placement?
The space helps the piece and the piece adds and interferes in the space, as it is assigned a role. If you place the producto on a white landscape, it might appear bland. This is like a performance. Pieces are not minimalist or maximalist, they can bring more or less lightness and simplicity, but they achieve a perfect dialogue with the rest of the elements. A good interior designer elevates the product and gives it the character it needs.
Is the Mediterranean light important and present in your project?
I love the Mediterranean light, the one from Valencia. It possesses a sumptuousness of its own which inspires me. Around 6 or 7pm light turns melancholic and transports you to other places. I am sure Valencia chose me for its light.
Your fascination for mirrors is not a secret. What do they bring to your projects?
Mirrors are truly important for me and they are always included in my projects: ceilings, floors, walls… Mirrors welcome you and create a perfect dialogue in the atmosphere. They seem ordinary but they are not. Mirrors elevate the space and bring light inside. We have been working for years with trend hunters who seek for the best antique mirrors around Europe. I used to keep a wide collection which are now part of my projects.
Lastly, is Valencia a good place to develop your work? Do you feel welcomed in its streets, its people, its walls, and its secrets?
Valencia is THE city. It has more charm than people think. Finding and seeing beauty is a matter of having a kind soul. If you live in Paris but you are not beautiful inside you will not be able to appreciate its beauty. For me, Valencia was love at first sight.