Inspiration doesn’t run on a schedule. And it may not strike like lighting. It’s more apt to come when you’re doing laundry or looking for your keys. It doesn’t arrive fully formed either. Instead, a kernel of an idea presents itself and only time can bring it to fruition. At the risk of relying on a cliché, one has to say, the highly individual Seville studio and residence of artists Daniel Maldonado and Luciano Galán are nothing short of inspired – in the true sense of the word.
A ceramist, Maldonado’s training included study of the della Robbia style of 16th-century Florence, as well as Portuguese techniques. A carver of wood and stone, Galán also spent time learning mask making in Venice. Working alongside each other in a studio adjacent to their home, the couple employ clay, wood, ceramic, stone, paper and fabric to fashion almost talismanic decorative pieces from lamps and candlesticks to curious figures inspired by ex votos. Their atelier – crammed with materials and tools – is the definition of the word “workshop.” It is a place where things are made, and where the disparate elements of craft converge to create a visually hypnotic environment. That busy, somewhat disjointed element plays out in their apartment, as well.
Maldonado and Galán reside in a 1930s building designed by architects Antonio Delgado Roig and Juan Talavera. Located not far from the 16th-century Gothic cathedral that defines the historic quarter, in an area replete with restaurants, bars and shops, the couple’s home seems wonderfully in the process of becoming. While obviously composed, the abundance and variety of the things populating their space (all enveloped by worn, plaster-covered brick walls) generate a satisfying sense of ongoingness, a feeling that the place has not yet come to rest. And the furniture – such as the red metal chairs paired with a humble trestle table – are much more about function than looks. The real eye-catchers here are the art and decorative pieces that animate this industrial-looking environment.
That approach is evident everywhere. In a corner of the living room, above a futon outfitted with kilim-covered pillows, the wall is adorned with a wooden pediment; a medallion from an 18th-century church organ; and a hand-embroidered Persian textile. On a particularly battered bit of brick wall, a small, contemporary tempera on cardboard painting brings to mind the Infanta Margaret Theresa of Las Meninas, by Velázquez.
From a fragment of an 18th-century Spanish altarpiece, carved in wood and covered with 22-karat gold, to the bold, orange suzani acquired on a trip to Istanbul and now covering their bed, all is a testament to the artists’ wide-ranging interests. “We are lovers of beauty,’ remarks Galán, “and we are of the firm conviction that to create beauty, you have to be surrounded by it.”
Photogrpahy by Daniel Schaefer.
For more projects similar to the residence of Daniel Maldonado and Luciano Galán, be sure to check out the home and studio of artist Andrea De Carvalho.
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