Name: Meritxell Ribé Modol
Company: Meritxell Ribé-The Room Studio
Position within company: Creative and Project Manager
Tell us a little about your background in design…
I had already painted oil on canvas when I was 4ys old, I like to remember my childhood as if living in a creative dream-like cocoon, I used to craft my own toys with random materials that I would find at my uncle’s country-house in Lleida (Catalonia), surrounded by animals and fruit and olive trees; my favourite games were building my own doll-houses in very creative ways with branches, sticks, stones and flowers, and making up stories.
As I grew up, I recall closing my eyes and imagining how I’d remodel my parents place, or my uncle’s country-house; back then I wasn’t aware of my interest in transforming the places I inhabited, adapting them in my own way to answer my needs and my family’s. I guess my passion for Interior Design was always there, and one day I just realized it.
When I moved to Barcelona, I was lucky enough to find a part-time job at an Architectural firm that paid special attention to Interior Design. I remember that time running at full-learning speed, I was a sponge and would absorb everything I could learn, it was then when my inner passion grew stronger and I became fully aware of it. My beginnings at the firm consisted on assisting others in whichever necessary way, but within a while I was given further responsibilities and ended up leading large teams and coordinating Interior Design works and supervising the firm’s Decoration section. In the evenings, I would attend my lectures at Bau, Dessign College of Barcelona. Those three years were hectic, and it was not easy to handle work and school but it was a huge learning experience. I was ambitious, independent and not afraid of responsibilities, I realised I wished to take-off on my own eventually.
In 2005 my life-partner Josep, a Technical Architect, suggested that we associated in business to start running our own firm. I didn’t have to think much. The Room Studio as we know it nowadays was born back then and I couldn’t be any prouder. Creativity, hard work, effort and our will to improve along with our passion for Interior Design is the key to our success.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
I would define my style as natural, Mediterranean, smart and extremely thoughtful. Lighting is my true passion, therefore for me a good light study is a must. I love natural and raw materials, so I try to stay away of synthetics, gloss, loud colours hard patterns or aggressive colour-schemes. I enjoy matte interiors, raw fabrics, lime mortar walls, playing with raw or slightly treated woods… I enjoy recalling nature, the nature I grew-up in with so much and so little. I think that a project with a careful layout, solid basics and dramatic lighting needs little more. I enjoy smart and warm atmospheres that awake the senses.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I already painted oil on canvas when I was 4ys old, I like to remember my childhood as if partially living in a creative dream-like cocoon, I used to craft my own toys with random materials that I would find at my uncle’s country-house in Lleida (Catalonia), surrounded by animals and fruit and olive trees; my favourite games were building my own doll-houses in very creative ways with branches, sticks, stones and flowers, and making up stories.
I think those memories of my childhood, in a connection with nature surrounded by nothing and everything, are a source of inspiration.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Our concern for climate change, food quality, sports practice and technology are a reflection of society and the challenges that Design is facing. People are willing to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle; I’d say there’s a longing for nature and less stressful environments. Housing-wise people seek passive-houses and the use of natural materials, Interior Design is heading towards a more primitive and raw approach to habitat, respectful and connected with the environment. Technology has broken through to stay and it already is an extension beyond us and our children. It is a tool to improve housing and provide all kind of solutions that will make life easier for the inhabitants and can help lessening the environmental impact and carbon print of the household, cut-off expenses and positively affect our well-being and spirits. Home Automation is already the present and will definitely be the future of housing, a natural ally that provides a better living experience.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2018 and beyond.
- Smart Housing
- Organic materials
- Simple shapes
- Bioclimatic Architecture
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
A careful layout is essential to make the space work; add a good lighting project and the result will be excellent.
How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
Appreciation of our work is the greatest reward, it fills us with enthusiasm, it fuels the personal and corporate engine to keep up working hard and determined. After all these years, The International Design and Architecture Award would mean consolidating a dream, it would make us proud. As creative people we are naturally emotional, for us receiving such a prestigious acknowledgement would be an intensely fulfilling experience that would reward every effort made to get here, and give us a further impulse to keep on going.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently we are happy to be working in over thirty projects. To highlight a few: the offices of a renowned company that develops smartphone games; a passive-house new build; a seaside hotel; a 800sqm modernist historic villa that will regain its period splendour implemented by technological solutions and contemporary functionalities to the highest comfort standards; and finally, an apartment in a historical building in Estoril (Portugal) where the main difficulty remains in matching the space restrictions and the client’s program of needs.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
We will keep on working with passion, regardless the nature of the project. We will keep on walking side by side with our clients. We would love to start working in ambitious projects where nature and technology are key features; to prove that sustainable housing and bioclimatic building are real and can definitely go along quality interior design (thoughtful, well structured, warm and harmonic). We would be happy to extend our work internationally and continue working in housing and contract projects.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
Your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere with my beloved ones.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Hostal Spa Empúries (Sant Martí d´Empúries – Costa Brava- Catalonia)
Restaurant: La cuina d’en Garriga (Barcelona-Catalonia)
Your favourite book, film & song?
Film: “The Bridges of Madison County” by Clint Eastwood
Book: “Biografía del Silencio” written by Pablo d´Ors
Song: “Champions of red wine” by The New Pornographers
Your favourite food and drink?
Any kind of cheese along with a good glass of champagne or cava.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
The reading of a good book.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Singer and piano player.
Anything else interesting?
My favourite sport is work!